A political message in TN CM’s foreign trip

A political message in TN CM’s foreign trip

Palaniswami will embark on a two-week long trip to the UK, the US and the UAE beginning August 28 not to just attract investments but to boost his image in the state and assert his authority within the government and the AIADMK, the ruling party. (PTI File Photo)

His mentor and predecessor late J Jayalalithaa had boasted of attracting investments from across the globe sitting from her seat at the St George Fort, but Edappadi K Palaniswami feels the need to visit the Western world to sell Tamil Nadu as a “favourite destination” and study new technologies.

Palaniswami will embark on a two-week long trip to the UK, the US and the UAE beginning August 28 not to just attract investments but to boost his image in the state and assert his authority within the government and the AIADMK, the ruling party.

Palaniswami, considered a lightweight when he was anointed by V K Sasikala (now jailed) in February 2017 following a rebellion against her by O Panneerselvam, is strengthening his hold within the party as it braces itself to face the Assembly elections due in 2021.

Though Palaniswami will be away from the country for a fortnight, he hasn’t yet made any move on appointing or asking his deputy Panneerselvam to discharge duties on his behalf.

Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, though pretend that all is well between them, don’t see eye-to-eye and are fighting to gain control of the AIADMK, which they jointly head right now.

Political analysts and party insiders say that this is Palaniswami’s way of asserting his authority in the AIADMK.

“Usually, the chief minister writes to the governor or requests him orally to appoint his senior-most minister as acting chief minister or to chair cabinet meetings in his absence. Nothing has been done so far which means the CM is sending the message that he is the boss,” a senior leader said.

Palaniswami is probably the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu to visit the Western world to garner investments, though the late C N Annadurai and M G Ramachandran have been to the US for treatment.

Jayalalithaa had even boasted more than once that she never felt the need to travel abroad when she can garner investments sitting in her office here.

Besides garnering investments, Palaniswami will meet Tamils living in these countries. He will leave Chennai on July 28 and his first stop will be London where he would sign a memorandum with the King's College to enable the institute set up a campus in Tamil Nadu.

His official meetings in the US include those with investors in New York, and higher officials of Caterpillar and Ford Motors, both of whom have invested in the state, a statement from the government said on Monday.

On his way back, he will attend a "Business Leaders Forum" as a special guest at the UAE.