Erode East byelection just got interesting: OPS says he will field a candidate

OPS also said he was willing to extend support to alliance partner BJP if it wanted to contest the Erode East bypoll.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Jan 21, 2023 | 10:33 AM Updated Jan 21, 2023 | 10:33 AM

OPS Erode East AIADMK

A day after the Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) faction of the AIADMK announced it would contest the Erode East byelection that is scheduled to be held on 27 February, the O Pannerselvam (OPS) faction, on Saturday, 21 January, said that it too would contest the election.

In a morning meeting with reporters at his residence, OPS said that as per the records of the Election Commission of India (ECI), he is the coordinator of the AIADMK and he would claim the party’s Two Leaves symbol in that capacity.

Asked about the possibility of the Two Leaves symbol being frozen by the ECI, OPS said that he would not be responsible if such as situation arose, and that he was ready to contest on whatever the symbol the commission allotted to him.

OPS also stated that he was already in talks with the alliance partners of the AIADMK.

“I always, even this minute, want all the factions of AIADMK to be united as a powerful party. I am ready for talks with anyone, including VK Sasikala, for a united AIADMK,” OPS said.

‘I will extend support to BJP’

Responding to a question on the BJP’s stand, OPS replied: “The Erode East constituency was allotted to the Tamil Maanila Congress in the last Assembly elections in the alliance. Now if they do not wish to contest again in the constituency, then all other parties have the right to express their desire to contest.”

He added, significantly: “In that case, if BJP wishes to contest, as AIADMK coordinator, I will extend my support to them and will talk to the BJP.”

He contended that EPS was responsible for all the confusion that the party faces now and said that he would never allow anyone to modify the bylaws of the party created by the founder MGR and that is the reason he was engaged in a legal battle in court.

OPS also hinted that other parties in the alliance were in talks with the EPS faction to unite and face the byelection.