OPS at a meeting of his supporters in Chennai on Monday.
OPS at a meeting of his supporters in Chennai on Monday.

EPS, OPS set for bypoll showdown

Party treasurer Premalatha announced the name of DMDK Erode East secretary Anandan as the candidate.

CHENNAI: Even as the clock for the Erode East bypoll is ticking, the deadlock in the NDA alliance widened on Monday with both former chief ministers Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam holding separate strategy meetings with the supporters to identify probable candidates.

“The AIADMK candidate will be announced soon and the public will vote for our candidate,” OPS told reporters after presiding over the meeting of party districts secretaries.

Earlier in the day, the leader of Opposition EPS invited the aspiring AIADMK candidates to avail of party nomination papers from party headquarters.

Adding to the poll drama, actor-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK announced it will go solo. Party treasurer Premalatha announced the name of DMDK Erode East secretary Anandan as the candidate.

“Both OPS and EPS are keen on fielding candidates and the state BJP is not able to bring in a truce. The BJP is also mulling to stay away from the bypoll,” a senior AIADMK ex-MP told DT Next.

Sources in the OPS camp said their leader had stated his decision clearly during the internal meeting at Egmore. They have also shortlisted three candidates.

At the closed-door meeting of 87 district secretaries, 114 headquarter office-bearers and 26 organising secretaries, the OPS camp also resolved to wait and watch for the response from EPS camp and the BJP’s move, said sources.

Meanwhile, BJP state president Annamalai said the saffron party will maintain the alliance dharma and provide the fullest cooperation to the AIADMK candidate.

Speaking to reporters in Tiruchy, Annamalai termed the AIADMK as the largest party in the NDA alliance in State and said BJP will always maintain the alliance dharma without any compromise.

The bypoll is likely to witness a multi-cornered contest as apart from DMK-led front, both AIADMK camps have decided to field candidates. While the PMK said it would neither contest nor support any party, the BJP will announce the final decision in a couple of days.

While AMMK led by TTV Dhinakaran may finalise its decision on Jan 27, Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi has also begun poll works and is likely to enter the fray. More on P5

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