OPS faction to contest in Erode East by-poll, says willing to support BJP candidate 

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Turning the by-election to Erode East Assembly constituency more interesting, O Panneerselvam on Friday unilaterally declared that the AIADMK would field its candidate claiming him as the coordinator of the party. However, the candidate to be fielded by him would be at loggerheads with the candidate to be fielded by the Palaniswami faction. 

Panneerselvam also said that the AIADMK would support the BJP if it decides to contest this by-election since it is a national party and this election comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.  

Meanwhile, a release from OPS faction said a delegation of party leaders would be meeting TMC president GK Vasan, BJP State president K Annamalai, PMK founder S Ramadoss, John Pandian of Thamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and M Jaganmoorthy of Puratchi Bharatham today regarding Erode East by-election. 

Obviously, this decision of Panneerselvam is likely to make the job easy for the DMK-led alliance in this by-election as the AIADMK stands divided.  However, AIADMK functionary KP Munusamy told TNIE that Panneerselvam’s announcement today clearly indicates that he is in a state of confusion, and Edappadi K Palaniswami is in touch with the alliance parties and would make an announcement.

“In December 2021, I and Edappadi K Palaniswami were elected as Coordinator and Joint Coordinator of the AIADMK by the 1.5 crore cadres of the party and according to the decision of the party cadre, I will be the coordinator of the party till 2026.  So, we have the full rights to contest in the Two Leaves symbol,” Panneerselvam said at a press conference here.

Asked whether a situation where Palaniswami and himself would be signing the A and B forms for the nomination of a candidate is there now, Panneerselvam said, “I am ready to sign the nomination forms seeking Two Leaves symbol. But it is up to Palaniswami whether to sign it or not.”

Questioned whether a divided stand on the by-election might lead to freezing of the Two Leaves symbol, Panneerselvam said, “We still believe in unity of the party since the founder of the party made AIADMK as a party of the grassroots level cadre.”

When pointed out that the BJP and other alliance parties are holding talks only with the Palaniswami faction regarding this by-election, Panneerselvam said, “We will seek the support of the BJP, PMK, TMC, Puratchi Bharatham and other parties for this by-election.”

Asked if the BJP too wishes to contest this by-election, Panneerselvam said, “If the BJP conveys its wish to contest this by-election, definitely we will extend our support to the BJP since it is a national party and this by-election came ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.”

Questioned whether his decision to support the BJP would be tantamount to giving up the right of the AIADMK to BJP, Panneerselvam said, “This constituency was contested by the TMC and since that party has decided not to contest this time, every alliance party in the AIADMK-led alliance has the right to express their wish for contesting this seat.”

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