CHENNAI: The by-poll to the Erode East constituency, which was necessitated following the demise of Congress MLA E Thirumahan Everaa, has given an opportunity for Edappadi K Palaniswami to prove his mettle as an undisputed leader of the AIADMK party.
M Yuvaraja of GK Vasan’s Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) contested unsuccessfully in the AIADMK’s Two-Leaves symbol against Thirumahan Everaa of Congress in the Assembly polls in 2021. The state Assembly Secretariat on January 11, notified the vacancy in the constituency. With this notification, the state would witness the first by-poll for the 16th Assembly within six months.
Though the party can easily manoeuvre the situation by giving away the seat to TMC(M), it was a “god-sent opportunity” for EPS to prove to evolve into a strong leader by taking a bold decision to field a candidate against the DMK’s alliance in the constituency, said a senior leader in the party and strong supporter of EPS.
Party founder MG Ramachandran and the late supremo J Jayalalithaa took bold decisions in critical juncture and fought elections in tough conditions. Such bold moves helped them to emerge as undisputed leaders in the party and also powerful leaders in the Dravidian land.
Within six months after starting the party, MGR fielded Maya Thevar in a by-poll for the Dindigul constituency in 1973. In the four-corner fight, MGR tasted the first political victory as his candidate contested in the Two-Leaves symbol emerged victorious. There was no stopping MGR and his legacy then onwards. Jayalalithaa followed the footsteps of MGR and faced the 1989 polls in Seval symbol.
Jayalalithaa’s faction won 27 seats. EPS was one of the winning candidates in Jayalalithaa’s camp. The question remains whether EPS would dare to take such a bold move like Jaya and MGR?
Senior AIADMK leader S Semmalai exuded confidence of winning the polls. “This election will give recognition to the party leadership. We are confident of winning the polls under EPS’s leadership. It will be a turning point for EPS,” he added.
However, political critic Tharasu Shyam differed from this and said, “If EPS takes the chance and loses the poll, it will be a political Hara-kiri for him. Moreover, he is not a politically competent leader like MGR. So, he will prefer to allot it to TMC to play it safe.”