Chennai, Feb 8 (IANS): After the deposed AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam (OPS) withdrew his candidate, T. Senthil Murugan from the Erode East by-election on the request of the state BJP, the onus is now on Edapapdi K. Palaniswami (EPS) to make the AIADMK candidate and former minister, K.V. Thenarasu, victorious.
While the odds are in favour of the DMK led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) candidate and senior Congress leader, EVKS Elangovan to win the election, the power of EPS in the Kongu belt of Tamil Nadu has to be on display for clinching a victory for the AIADMK candidate. The by-election was necessitated following the passing away of sitting legislator, E. Thirumahan Everaa who was the son of EVKS Elangovan. The Congress candidate, Thirumahan Everaa had won the 2021 assembly election with a margin of 8924 votes.
With the DMK front under Stalin performing well in government, the AIADMK does not have much chance of winning but the party is trying to play up the facts that the government could not cancel the NEET for admission to medical and allied courses and could not provide the Rs 1000 per month support to BPL women which was a poll promise of the DMK.
BJP state president K. Annamalai has already exhorted the party cadres to work tirelessly for the victory of the AIADMK candidate. The AIADMK is banking on the fact that the Erode belt has a good support base of EPS and the Gounder community to which he belongs which may throw their weight behind the AIADMK candidate.
The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) of TTV Dhinakaran has also withdrawn its candidate from the electoral fray and this will also be advantageous to the AIADMK. Both OPS and Dhinakaran were leaders of the AIADMK in the immediate past.
The DMK however has got a shot in the arm following the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) of South Indian superstar Kamal Haasan announcing its support to the DMK/Congress candidate. The MNM had in the 2021 assembly election secured around 10,000 votes.
However in politics the arithmetic may not add up but it is the political chemistry that matters. If the AIADMK does its grassroots work in a proper manner, the party has a fair chance of pulling off a memorable win which will stamp the authority of EPS as the sole leader of the AIADMK.