AIADMK to boycott Vikravandi bypoll, PMK names candidate

Edappadi K Palaniswami
Edappadi K Palaniswami

Chennai | Tamil Nadu's principal opposition party, AIADMK, on Saturday announced a boycott of the July 10 bypoll to the Vikravandi Assembly constituency, alleging the ruling DMK will unleash 'violence' and not allow people to vote 'independently.'

S Ramadoss, founder of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, a constituent of the BJP-led NDA in Tamil Nadu announced that his party's vice-president C Anbumani, will contest the Vikravandi bypoll.

Following deliberations with senior leaders at the AIADMK headquarters, 'Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Maaligai,' Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that his party will boycott the bypoll.

Palaniswami, also the leader of the opposition, alleged that the state ministers and DMK workers, apart from misusing power will also flex their money and muscle power and unleash violence and lawlessness and not allow people to vote independently. Hence, the bypoll will not be fair and free and considering such factors, the "AIADMK will boycott the July 10 bypoll to the Vikravandi Assembly segment."

The AIADMK general secretary, in a statement, cited several allegations made in the past against the DMK including the 'Thirumangalam formula' and 'Erode East formula,' of confining people in 'sheds' like cattle to prevent opposition from reaching out to them and to somehow win their votes through allurements. The ruling party had, however, dismissed all such allegations as false.

Palaniswami expressed confidence of returning to power in Tamil Nadu by winning the Assembly election to be held in 2026.

Thirumngalam formula is a reference to opposition's allegation of inducement/cash for votes in Thirumangalam Assembly segment in a bypoll held in 2009 during the DMK regime. Bypoll to Erode East Assembly constituency was held in 2023 and DMK's ally Congress party's senior leader EVKS Elangovan won.

Speaking to reporters, senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said the party has taken the decision considering the ground reality. "What is the ground reality? This decision (to boycott) is based on that," he said answering a question on PMK and Naam Tamilar Katchi announcing candidates for the bypoll.

"If the bypoll is held democratically, the AIADMK will be the winner. Can the Election Commission ensure democratic polls? Can it ensure 100 per cent free and fair election? Can the poll body say that even a single rupee cannot be distributed (to voters as inducement) by anyone?" he asked.

Jayakumar, a former minister in the previous AIADMK regimes asked if authorities could say that all checkposts will be monitored.

"We saw in Erode (East), was there a checkpost? he asked and alleged 'movement' of cash to induce voters. Also, during that bypoll people were lodged in sheds from morning to evening, he alleged and accused the DMK of committing 'murder of democracy' and said the Vikravandi bypoll will witness similar scenes. The boycott will not have any impact on the AIADMK and, "we believe in democracy, DMK believes in lawlessness."

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