77 candidates in fray for Erode East Assembly bypoll

A total of 77 candidates are in the fray for the February 27 byelection to the Erode (East) Assembly seat, with the Election Commission allowing the faction-ridden main Opposition AIADMK to contest in its popular ‘Two Leaves’ symbol after it decided to field a ‘united’ candidate for this polls on a request by the BJP, its key ally.

Of the 83 accepted nominations, six opted out of the contest on the last day on Friday.

Besides some independents, the AMMK candidate also had withdrawn from the contest citing the non-allocation of the pressure cooker symbol. The AIADMK’s deposed coordinator O Panneerselvam’s candidate B Senthil Murugan was also supposed to withdraw; however, his nominations were rejected even before that for want of ‘complete information’.

Now, the election department has been faced with the mounting task of readying additional EVMs to accommodate more candidates.

Apart from the candidates, the voters should also be given the option of NOTA in the EVMs. Each of the EVMs can accommodate the names of 16 candidates and therefore it requires up to five EVMs.