O Panneerselvam (OPS), Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), Erode East bypoll
O Panneerselvam (left) and Edappadi K Palaniswami in happier times | File photo PTI

Erode East bypoll: OPS faction may withdraw candidate after SC interim order

The O Panneerselvam (OPS) faction of the AIADMK may withdraw its candidate from the Erode East bypoll on February 27.

OPS had appointed party state organising secretary Senthil Murugan as its candidate from Erode East. However, thanks to an interim Supreme Court order, the faction may have to withdraw its candidate.

Two Leaves symbol

In a related development, the AIADMK may reportedly appoint presidium chairman Thamizh Magan Hussain as the signatory for form A and B to be submitted to the Election Commission of India, paving the way for the AIADMK candidate getting the “Two Leaves” symbol.

Also read: OPS-EPS feud could largely benefit BJP, say observers, leaders

For the allocation of the party symbol, the party’s interim general secretary and former CM Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and former coordinator OPS had to jointly sign forms A and B. However, after OPS’s expulsion from the party last year, the symbol has been a major block for the party leadership.

However, in an interim order on February 3, 2023, the Supreme Court left it upon the party general council to choose the AIADMK candidate for the Erode East bypoll, bypassing the need for the joint signature of EPS and OPS in forms A and B of the nomination paper.

The last date for filing nominations is on February 7.

Not total loss for OPS

Hussain will be the likely signatory for forms A and B, and the general council members will offer their choice of candidate for the Erode East bypoll to him. With the EPS faction having a clear majority, former MLA and party strongman from Erode, KV Thennarasu, will likely be the candidate.

Also read: As OPS sends out feelers, Dhinakaran says Two Leaves must for poll win

However, it is not a total loss for OPS, as he and his associates can also vote for the choice of candidate. The apex court has stated that it is purely an interim order keeping the election in mind. It would not in any way prejudice the rights of either the EPS or the OPS camp.

(With agency inputs)

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