The O.Panneerselvam (OPS) faction of the AIADMK is likely to withdraw its candidate, Senthil Murugan, from the Erode East by-election scheduled to be held on February 27.
OPS had appointed Senthil Murugan as the party state organising secretary.
The party was also likely to appoint presidium chairman Thamizh Magan Hussain as the signatory for form A and B to be submitted to the Election Commission of India. This would pave the way for the AIADMK candidate getting the ‘Two leaves symbol’.
It is to be noted that presently the party interim general secretary and former Chief Minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS), and former coordinator O. Panneerselvam (OPS) had to jointly sign forms A and B for allocation of the party symbol. After the expulsion of OPS from the party during its last general council meeting on July 11, 2022, the symbol has been a major block for the party leadership.
However, the Supreme Court has in an interim order on February 3, 2023, directed the choice of the AIADMK candidate for the Erode East bypoll to be put to the party general council. The court has with this interim arrangement bypassed the need for the joint signature of EPS and OPS in forms A and B in the nomination papers. The last date for filing nominations is on February 7.
AIADMK presidium chairman Thamil Maghan Hussain will be the likely signatory for forms A and B, and general council members will prefer their choice of their candidate for the Erode East bypoll to him. With the EPS faction having a clear-cut majority, it is clear that the party candidate for Erode East by-election would be former MLA and party strongman from Erode, K.V. Thennarasu.
OPS has, however, got a shot in the arm as he and his associates can also vote for the choice of candidate even though the Supreme Court has stated that this was purely an interim order in the wake of the election and that it would not in any way prejudice the rights of both EPS and OPS camps.