CHENNAI: The AIADMK would field its candidate in the Erode East constituency bypoll against the ruling DMK’s ally Congress. Entry of the AIADMK into the poll fray has spiced up the incumbent Legislative Assembly’s first bypoll, necessitated following the demise of Congress MLA E Thirumahan Everaa. Though the DMK honoured its poll pact and allowed Congress to field its candidate, it would only be a shadow battle between the two Dravidian majors — DMK and AIADMK.
Both the Dravidian majors would use their resources to the optimum level to settle the question of the popularity of ruling DMK or the lack of it.
Leader of the opposition and AIADMK’s ‘interim’ general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami would face a daunting task given that no opposition party has managed to defeat a ruling party in the State in the last decade and a half.
Barring the infamous RK Nagar bypoll which AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran had won in the EPS-led previous AIADMK regime in 2017, the last time an opposition party had won a bypoll was way back in 2004 when DMK wrested control of Mangaluru.
The impending bypoll is perceived as an opportunity for Kongu strongman EPS to gain oneupmanship over contender O Panneerselvam and demonstrate himself as the most popular leader among the current lot.
In deciding to field his candidate against the strong DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance, EPS has taken the gauntlet to prove many wrong, said party insiders close to EPS.
“He is following the footsteps of MGR (MG Ramachandran) and Amma (J Jayalalithaa) who took bold decisions to prove their leadership mettle,” said a senior leader in the EPS camp. He was referring to the Dindigul bypoll in 1973, six months after AIADMK came into existence, and the 1989 general election that ended the leadership challenge between MGR Janaki and J Jayalalithaa the last time the party suffered a split after the party founder’s demise. ↔ More on P5