Edappadi Palanisamy, senior AIADMK leader and a loyalist of party chief V K Sasikala, was elected as the legislature party leader of the party, paving way for him to stake claim before the Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to form the government. Party sources said Edappadi may be meeting the governor in few hours today to stake claim to form the government. At a meeting of MLAs with Sasikala, held at the Golden Bay beach resort in the city outskirts after the verdict, Pannerselvam was sacked from the party.
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Edappadi was elected as the MLA in AIADMK ticket for at least four times since 1989 had also served as the minister of Tamil Nadu.
Hailing from Edapadi in Salem district, which lies in the Kongu Belt of Tamil Nadu, known for its powerful representation of Gounder community and a strong hold of AIADMK, is a politician known for his loyalty for both late J Jayalalithaa and Sasikala. Among Jayalalithaa’s favourite leaders including Panneerselvam, Edapaddi was one of the prominent faces.
After Panneerselvam’s rebellion last week, name of Edappadi was doing rounds as a leader next to Sasikala to be selected for the post. Among TTV Dinakaran, nephew of Sasikala and the only successful politician from Sasikala family, veteran leader K A Sengottaiyan and M Thambidurai, Lok Sabha deputy speaker, Edappadi was another prominent leader who stood with Sasikala in the latest political crisis.
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For leaders known to him, Edappadi is one of the senior politicians in AIADMK known for his short tempered behaviour. “He is not an informed politician like many others in AIADMK. Although Panneerselvam and Edappadi were among the top five leaders who had been working for Jayalalithaa in close circles, Edappadi’s approach is far different from that of Panneerselvam who developed a polite image over the years. He is also known for his authoritarian nature like Jayalalithaa in the party. He is a rough-and-tumble politician,” said a senior AIADMK leader.
Probably when the humble loyalist image had helped Panneerselvam for his elevations in the party, Edappadi was also a leader who never dreamt of anything. A powerful leader in his constituency, the political career of Edappadi had also seen his image changing spontaneously for good or bad.
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Commenting on both CM candidates of AIADMK rival factions before the governor, P Ramajayam, political analyst with the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Trichy, said all these faces are examples for a party that never allowed basic democracy in the party. “It is none other than MGR to be blamed for these inherent lapses and absence of any intellectual leaders or mentors in the party that led to this crisis despite being the third largest party in the country. All these emerging faces in AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death shows how undemocratic and authoritarian was this party that always preferred to crush down dissenting voices and never entertained debates or discussions,” he said.