Chennai, May 3(BPNS)
Edappady K Palaniswami, the outgoing Chief minister of Tamil Nadu ,even though beaten was not battered or bruised as he could hold on to his turf in Western Tamilnadu providing more MLA’s to the party. EPS himself had won the Edappadi seat with a thumping majority of 93,802 votes, the highest majority of a sitting Chief minister in the history of Tamil Nadu.
Also 10 of the 11 seats of Salem district- EPS’s home turf was won by the AIADMK, and this has also led to him turning to become the undisputed leader of the party in the state.
On the other hand the family of VK Sashikala who were bent on taking control of the AIADMK if the party faces a crushing defeat, is in tatters as their political party Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam(AMMK), which contested 161 seats and drew a blank with the party leader and Shashikala’s nephew ,TTV Dhinakaran himself loosing from Kovilpatti seat.
EPS will also have to decide on the leader of the opposition and in all likelihood the newly elected MLAs will support him as the next leader of opposition as most of them are owing allegiance to the outgoing Chief minister.
On the other hand, O Panneerselvam who was the Deputy to EPS in the outgoing cabinet, is also the coordinator of AIADMK but is unlikely to throw any challenge to Palaniswami as the power of the party has waned among the Thevar community in South Tamil Nadu. Even O Panneerselvam had to sweat it out to win his home turf of Bodinayakanur and ultimately won by a slender margin of 7676 votes against his DMK rival ,Thanga Tamil Selvan. In the 2016 elections OPS had won the seat by a margin of 15,608 votes.
Edappadi Karuppa Palaniswami had fought bitter battles to climb his way up the ladder and after becoming Chief minister of Tamil Nadu following the passing away of Jayalalithaa, the Gounder leader never looked back. Always accessible to the general public ,party cadres and local leaders, EPS promoted several welfare schemes and development of the state was his motto. He endeared himself to the masses and did not lose the elections with a huge margin. During the four year stint as Chief minister, EPS ,according to his associates and bureaucrats, was a quick learner and adapted himself to the conditions.
It is now to be seen how he will take control of the AIADMK by putting an end to the “dual leadership”- sharing power with O Panneerselvam, that was seen throughout the party’s regime after the passing away of Jayalalithaa.