This Article is From Feb 02, 2023

EPS's Party Drops Ally BJP From Poster For Few Hours Ahead Of Key Poll

Posters put up at the AIADMK office last morning had no pictures of BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

EPS has sent a clear message to the BJP, an AIADMK leader said. (File)


In clear indications of growing friction between Tamil Nadu's key opposition AIADMK under Edappadi K Palanisami (EPS) and its ally the BJP, the Dravidian party had quietly dumped its ally BJP for a few hours ahead of the by-poll to Erode East assembly constituency scheduled for February 27.

Posters put up at the party office Wednesday morning had no pictures of BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The name of the alliance too was changed to 'National Democratic Progressive Alliance' from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). However, hours later, after BJP state Chief K Annamalai said that a "proper reply would be given", the name of the alliance was restored .

An AIADMK leader who did not want to be named told NDTV, "EPS has sent a clear message to the BJP. They should know their place in Tamil Nadu."

Trouble started when the BJP, which has only a marginal presence in the state with four MLAs in the 234-member assembly, began projecting itself to be the key opposition in the state over the last year-and-a-half, capitalising on the leadership tussle between EPS and OPS following the death of Jayalalithaa.

Though the seat was contested by GK Vasan's Tamil Maanila Congress, another ally in 2021, the BJP strongly indicated contesting the by-poll soon after the election commission called for the election. That's when EPS got the seat from Tamil Maanila Congress and announced that AIADMK would contest.

Although late AIADMK boss Jayalalithaa never allied with BJP, O Panneerselvam (OPS) and EPS, who jointly headed the party after she died, tied up with the BJP and lost both Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

BJP's State Vice President Narayanan Thirupathy said, "We think the name issue was a mistake. They fixed it once they realised. There is no reason or friction between us". The national party is expected to reveal its stand in this changed scenario today.

This is EPS's first poll after he became the sole leader of AIADMK. With Lok Sabha polls due in 2024, and he seems to be flexing his political muscle power.

The two leaves symbol for AIADMK appears to be elusive for this election as EPS' rival and expelled leader, OPS, is the party's boss in poll panel's records and the matter is in top court.

While Ex-MLA Thennarasu will be the AIADMK candidate, OPS announced Senthil Murugan as his candidate and veteran Congress leader EVKS Elangovan is DMK alliance's candidate.

The death of Mr Elangovan's son, Thirumahan Everaa, led to the by-poll.