Palaniswami's unexpected rise to power

Palaniswami's unexpected rise to power

A few days ago, Edappadi K Palaniswami would not have anticipated his elevation as Tamil Nadu chief minister.

But after her conviction in the corruption case, AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala had no option but to make him the leader of the legislature party.

Hailing from the Kongu Vellala Gounder community in the western belt of the state, 62-year-old Palaniswami, a farmer, was elected to the Assembly four times in 1989, 1991, 2011 and 2016 — each time from the Edappadi constituency.

After the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Palaniswami was the first leader to appeal that Sasikala should take over as chief minister.

Strong loyalist

Palaniswami, who joined AIADMK at a very young age, has been a Jayalalithaa loyalist ever since she entered politics.

He is also one of the leaders who strongly backed Jayalalithaa when the party was in a crisis following the death of MGR in 1987.

In turn, Jayalalithaa instantly rewarded him with a party ticket. He won his first election in 1989 and retained the seat in 1991.

Sidelined for many years, Palaniswami was back in the limelight winning the last two elections in 2011 and 2016.

Inducted into Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet for the first time in 2011, he was allocated the portfolios of highways and minor ports.

Palaniswami soon won her confidence and remained a minister right through the five-year term, despite repeated reshuffles carried out by her.

He was ranked fourth in the Jayalalithaa Cabinet. And now he is the chief minister, a post which he would not have even dreamt of.

OPS faction approaches EC
Ten AIADMK MPs who back O Pannerselvam approached the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday, challenging the appointment of V K Sasikala as interim general secretary of the party.

They also questioned her powers under the AIADMK constitution to appoint the newly sworn-in Chief Minister E Palaniswami as the legislature party chief. They also contended her decision to anoint her nephew T T V Dinakaran as deputy party general secretary was “invalid”. These MPs, led by V Maitreyan, asserted that there is no provision in the AIADMK constitution for selecting an interim general secretary, and therefore, Sasikala’s appointment was not valid. 

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