Erode East bypoll: In seeking support from BJP, both EPS and OPS are boosting Annamalai's leadership!

In the Erode East bypoll, Annamalai is facing his first election to the assembly as the Tamil Nadu BJP President. He took over the role weeks after the 2021 assembly polls and amidst delivering a controversial and skewing tenure, Annamalai is now receiving a crucial boost to his leadership, thanks to the rivaling ADMK leaders Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS), who are seeking BJP's support in the bypoll. 

The Erode East assembly seat was declared vacant after the shocking demise of Congress MLA Thirumahan Everaa, who died on January 4 at the age of 46 due to heart attack. The Election Commission announced that the bypoll for Erode East will be held on February 27. While the DMK has announced that its ally Congress would contest in the bypoll again, the opposition ADMK has been crossing swords with both the tussling leaders EPS and OPS announcing that they will contest against each other in the bypoll. 

Earlier when it was reported that ADMK's ally Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) would contest in the bypoll, it was later announced that ADMK will contest directly in the bypoll and when OPS was closely watched for his decision, he came out on Saturday and announced that he will also field a candidate to take on EPS. It would be the first time that in their years-long tussle for the leadership, both the leaders would battle in an election against each other. 

Though both EPS and OPS exhibit a strong political conflict, they certainly are showing at every time that when it comes to acquiring the support from BJP, they have the same political equation. It has once again become apparent on how both the leaders are vying to acquire the backing from BJP as on Saturday, both the factions met the Tamil Nadu BJP leaders and sought the party's support for their candidates in the bypoll. 

While the events on Saturday exposed the dependence of EPS and OPS on the BJP, they also gave a prospect to the state BJP leaders to boast Annamalai's leadership. The political observers say that the back to back meetings with the top leaders of one of the biggest political parties in the state have indeed boosted Annamalai's leadership, which the party can count on as a positive sign as he is facing the first election to the assembly after becoming the state BJP president. 

The meetings have given more attention on Annamalai at a high time when he has been claiming that BJP would contest in the Erode East bypoll independently. As both the ADMK leaders have met him, the sources say that it is less likely that BJP would contest and as the meetings have happened publicly, it will be a litmus test for Annamalai on deciding whom to support in the bypoll. The Central leadership of BJP has been advocating both EPS and OPS to unite together and reach a political consensus.  

ADMK leaders who support EPS meet BJP state chief Annamalai to seek the party's support for the Erode East bypoll in Chennai - Jan 21, 2023


As both the leaders have put the ball on the BJP's court to seek its support, Annamalai didn't gave any assurance to both the camps. On Saturday, OPS announced that he will also field a candidate against his rival EPS. We can expect that OPS will field a candidate from the strong Kongu community to give a tough fight to EPS, who will also award the seat to his Kongu community. As both the rivals battle in the election against each other, the sources say that ADMK's Two leaves symbol would be ceased and that they both have to contest in two different symbols and if that happens, we can witness an election without the Two leaves symbol on the ballot for the first time in several decades. 

OPS has also said that he would seek BJP's support to his candidate and following OPS's announcement that he will field his candidate in the bypoll, the senior leaders in the EPS camp held a sudden meeting on Saturday at the party's head office in Chennai. After the meeting, the leaders straightly drove to the BJP state headquarters to meet Annamalai and BJP leaders to seek their support for EPS's candidate.

OPS and his supportive leaders meet Annamalai and seek BJP's support - Jan 21, 2023


Within some time they left the BJP office, OPS arrived there with his supportive leaders and held talks with Annamalai. The events display there is a lot of political activities going on around Erode East and as the parties are counting days for the bypoll, the election fever and furore are back in the state and for voters, these political events are becoming an interesting affair.