The AIADMK faction under former chief minister K Palaniswami skipped the BJP leaders' names on the official banner put up during the inaugural of its election office in Erode on Wednesday, raising eyebrows on whether the party has taken a plunge to test its strength alone.
Interestingly, the banner contained the images of party founder M G Ramachandran, late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Palaniswami and even rationalist leader Periyar, along with iconic Congress leader K Kamaraj. It was conspicuous by the absence of BJP leaders' names or their images, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
What caught everyone's attention was the name of the alliance: Desiya Jananayaga Murpokku Kootani (National Democratic Progressive Alliance) printed on the banner, as against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Last month, senior leaders of the AIADMK drove to Kamalalayam - the BJP state headquarters here - and called on BJP Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai and other leaders seeking their support for the party's candidate in the upcoming Erode East bypoll.
Annamalai, who later received O Panneerselvam who is heading another faction, had said he would announce the BJP's stand on supporting the AIADMK with the concurrence of his party leadership.
However, there has been no official word from the BJP for nearly a week and this apparently prompted a miffed Palaniswami to name K S Thennarasu as his candidate. Panneerselvam, engaged in a power tussle with him, too, announced Senthil Murugan as his nominee for the bypoll.
Following the day's developments, a source in the BJP said Annamalai rushed to the national capital to brief the leaders.
The bypoll to the Erode East constituency is scheduled to be held on February 27 and counting will take place on March 2.