The Tamil Nadu unit of BJP, which is part of the AIADMK-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the State, has decided against contesting in the bypoll of Erode East Assembly to be held on February 27.
It was a collective decision of several senior party leaders. Chief K Annamalai of the state was also on the same page with the senior leaders in this regard. However, the national leadership – Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National President J P Nadda – would take call, said sources privy to the development.
Several senior and state-level leaders have also confirmed it, while Annamalai on Monday expressed indiscreetly that AIADMK is the major partner in the alliance and emphasised it would be beneficial for the alliance to field a “winning candidate”.
While talking to media in Tiruchy, the former IPS officer-turned-politician expressed his views against the factionalism in NDA’s senior party and said that his party would “wholeheartedly support and devise strategy” for them if Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam to come together to defeat the ruling DMK party and its alliance in February 27 bypoll. It was necessitated following the demise of Congress MLA E Thirumahan Everaa, who defeated TMC (M) candidate Yuvaraja who contested in AIADMK’s ‘Two-Leaves’ symbol in the 2021 assembly poll.
“The state leader is unwilling to contest, knowing the ground reality. Many functionaries have also overtly expressed that the party is ill-equipped to go solo in the bypoll. The party will be exposed when the two Dravidian majors get into business seriously. It will show us a poor picture and bring our stakes drastically down ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha polls in 2024,” said a senior leader, privy to the developments.
Another national level leader echoed the same view and said, “Opting the strategy of PMK is the best option for us. But the ultimate decision will be taken by our national leadership. It will be out within a day or two,” said the leader, while another party functionary said the party is averse to rile up neither EPS camp nor OPS camp.
EPS has a majority of party functionaries support and a strong leader in the Western region, while OPS still enjoy the support of a significant number of Thevar community associations. Hence, it will be unwise to earn wrath of any faction It would have an egregious impact in the forthcoming LS polls.