Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

TN: Stalin and EPS Lock Horns as Erode East Bypoll Campaign Nears Conclusion

Sruti MD |
The Erode (East) bypoll results are viewed as the mark sheet for the nearly two-year rule of the DMK government.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. | Photo Credit: PTI

Image Courtesy: PTI

On the last day of the campaign for the Erode (East) bypoll, Chief Minister M K Stalin visited the constituency early in the morning. He canvassed votes for the alliance candidate EVKS Elangovan of Congress.

During the campaign on Saturday, he listed out the promises fulfilled by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government in the past 22 months. He said one lakh memorandums were resolved through the “Mudhalvarin Mugavari” (Chief Minister’s Address) scheme, 16 lakh people benefited from the “healthcare at your doorstep” scheme and more than 9,000 children gained from the unpromised breakfast for school students initiative.

He also said 1,561 house-site pattas had been sanctioned in the Erode municipality since the DMK formed the government in 2020.

Meanwhile, on February 24, the leader of the opposition, former chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswamy asked what happened to the promises of NEET exemption for Tamil Nadu. He also questioned the status of the Rs 1,000 assistance for women while he was campaigning for KS Thennarasu.

Palaniswamy canvassed votes claiming the DMK has done nothing substantial for Erode. He cited achievements of the previous AIADMK regime, such as upgrading the Erode government hospital to a super-speciality one and the exclusive integrated drinking water project.

The main battle is between Elangovan and Thennarasu. The remaining 75 candidates are unlikely to hold any significant sway.


The Erode (East) bypoll results are viewed as the mark sheet for the nearly two-year rule of the DMK government.

“There is heavy anti-incumbency on ground,” noted senior journalist Mani in an interview to Puthiya Talaimurai on February 22.

“What is the need for 30 ministers in Erode? Their achievements should speak for themselves. Why should the ministers talk?” he asked.

He added, “They are unable to fulfil many promises. They made grand promises, many were avoidable. How is Rs 1,000 for women a feasible promise?” He continued saying, “If they (DMK) give the money only for the past two months of their tenure and claim they have fulfilled their manifesto, that amounts to cheating the people.”

He also mentioned the DMK’s unfulfilled promises to revive the old pension scheme and provide Rs 100 subsidy for LPG.

Meanwhile, Thirunavukkarasu, an election analyst, said, “There is competition between the ministers over who will garner more votes for the DMK alliance.” The responsibility for booths is divided among the ministers.

Moreover, the Erode East bypoll campaigns witnessed vitriolic personal attacks, casteist remarks and gender stereotyping. A case was registered against Naam Tamilar Katchi chief Seeman on charges of insulting members of the Scheduled Caste community.

Palaniswamy passed a male chauvinistic jibe at Stalin, saying, “...if you are a man with a moustache, if you are a man wearing dhoti and if you had pride and guts…"


Cash and other gifts for votes have become a norm in Tamil Nadu elections. Various sources mention different figures regarding the amount pumped in by the two major political parties; from Rs 8,000 to Rs 25,000 per vote. It adds up to as much as one lakh for a four-member family.

However, very few cases have been registered by the police and the Election Commission (EC) on this front. Two cases were filed on the distribution of pressure cookers to voters on February 21.

“What’s happenings is nothing less than a mockery of sorts,” said Mani. “It has come down to the level of people demanding cash for votes,” he added.

“This is not jananayagam (democracy), it is pananayagam (panam means money). People are bombarded with gift hampers. It is raining money,” he said.

“A big disadvantage for democracy in byelections is that the entire resources of the ruling party are accumulated in one place,” he added.

Mani said Rs 15 crore has already been spent, whereas political commentator Savukku Sankar said Rs 250 crore is the budget set aside by the DMK for the bypolls.

“The budget was increased little by little after the DMK realised the fight was not easy,” Shankar claimed in an interview with IBC Tamil on February 22.

Since the byelection was announced, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) joined the AIADMK alliance. The EC approved the popular two-leave symbol to the AIADMK and the O Panneerselavam camp withdrew their candidate. All of it strengthened Thennarasu’s candidature.


Palaniswamy repeatedly accused the DMK of uprooting the downtrodden people from their homes and cramming them up in sheds to prevent other candidates from campaigning among them.

Speaking to media persons on February 24, Palaniswamy disappointedly said, “We have been exposing this for over a week now, but the media is not broadcasting it.”

Some political commentators have attested to this claim. “Every morning, they (DMK) take 300 to 500 people to a shed, they are provided with food and paid Rs 500. Another lot is taken at 3 pm and released by 7 pm. We hear that out of the 238 booths, this is happening in 120,” alleged Mani.

“Emptying an entire locality to prevent other candidates from campaigning there is a new practice,” said Shankar. This has evolved as the ‘patti formula’, patti meaning shed or camp.

“Even if the ruling party wins the bypolls, a change in government in the Assembly elections has become a trend in Tamil Nadu,” said Mani.

The poll campaigning ends by 6 pm on February 25. The by-election, necessitated by the death of E Thirumahan Everaa, is scheduled on February 27. The counting of votes will take place on March 2.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram