AIADMK under Pressure to Win Vikravandi

Chennai: The AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami came under tremendous pressure to win the July 10 by-election to the Vikravandi Assembly constituency as his bete noire O Pannerselvam threw a challenge even as the BJP allocated the seat to ally, PMK, and Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) named its candidate on Friday with the DMK having already nominated Anniyur Siiva to recapture the seat that fell vacant following the death of its representative, N Pugezhenthi, in April.

Since leader of AIADMK breakaway faction, Pannerselvam asked Palaniswami, through a statement, if he wanted to embrace the 11th consecutive electoral debacle or repeat the 2019 victory of the AIADMK by uniting the party, the AIADMK has to prove itself in the polls.

Panneerselvam said that the party cadre, who wanted the AIADMK to clinch the seat it did in 2019 when its candidate R Muthamizhselvan romped home in that by-election, were asking the question if Palaniswami wanted to stand united and win or remain divided and fall.

Palaniswami, however, is said to be caught in a dilemma over the selection of its candidate. While it was initially presumed that Muthmizhselvan, who lost to Pugezhenthi in 2021, would be re-nominated, Palaniswami, when asked about it at Salem, said that the candidate would be announced soon.

In his desperation to win the seat, it is said that Palaniswamy is looking for an alternative candidate who could give a tough fight to the DMK that had already started work in the constituency by appointing top leaders to oversee the campaign, besides revamping the local district units.

The PMK that evinced interest in taking on the DMK in the Vanniyar belt has now been allotted the seat by BJP State President K Annamalai, who appealed to his party men to work for the victory of the NDA candidate. The PMK is expected to name the candidate in the next couple of days.

NTK chief organizer Seeman announced that Abinaya, a Siddha doctor, would be his party's candidate for the by-election. The party’s nominee for the constituency in the 2021 general election, Sheeba Asmi, had then polled 8,216 votes.

Since the AIADMK under Palaniswami is said to have lost 10 elections already, as Pannerselvam pointed out, it is expected to show at least one electoral victory to enthuse the cadre, who are crestfallen after the party’s drawing a blank in the Lok Sabha elections and triggering a debate on the wisdom behind breaking ties with the BJP last September.

Apart from some leaders in the State BJP, even many in the AIADMK, including former Minister S P Velumani, had said that if the two parties had fought the elections together they would have done better. So Palaniswami now wants to prove that his decision to break away from the BJP was right by registering a victory in Vikravandi, where it had defeated the DMK in 2019.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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