Ahead of the by-elections to the East Erode Assembly seat on February 27, a faction war has broken out in Congress over the seat.
While the seat fell vacant following the sudden demise of the sitting legislator of the Congress party, E. Thirumahan Everaa (46), there is stiff opposition to the candidature of the family members of the deceased MLA.
The father of the late legislator, E.V.K.S. Elangovan was a former Union Minister and a former state president of the Tamil Nadu Congress. The family is keen that either Elangovan himself or the brother of the deceased legislator, Sanjay Sampath contest the seat which has been a family bastion. It is to be noted that Elangovan is closely related to the late Dravidian ideologue, EV Ramasamy Periyar or Thanthai Periyar.
A section of the state Congress leaders, including the party state president, K.S. Alagiri is, however, favouring the candidature of a local leader from Erode. This section argues that while the untimely death of Thirumahan Evera was tragic and sad, the party must consider the candidature of local party leaders who have been the grassroots strength of the Congress. These leaders are in favour of supporting Makkal Rajan, Erode District secretary of the Congress.
Makkal Rajan is a grassroots leader and has always been at the forefront of all the struggles that Congress had undertaken in the constituency.
While Elangovan is a heavyweight leader of the Congress party, the opposite faction is pointing out his loss in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to O.P. Raveendranath, son of O. Panneerselvam at Theni Lok Sabha seat. It is to be noted that this was the only seat that the DMK-led alliance of which Congress is part of lost in the state. Of the 39 Lok sabha seats, 38 were won by the DMK-led alliance in the 2019 general elections.
Another factor that is working against Elangovan is the fact that the TNCC president, K.S. Alagiri is totally opposed to him. Alagiri believes that Elangovan and his supporters were behind the recent attack on Congress state headquarters, Satyamoorthi Bhavan following a dispute over party postings in Thoothukudi district block committees.