Edapadi Palanisamy to swear-in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister today

Edappadi Palanisamy sworn-in as TamilNadu Chief Minister.

Chennai, Feb 16: Tamil Nadu Governor invited Sasikala nominee Edappadi Palanisamy to form government.

Edapadi Palanisami would be sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister shortly.

Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday has invited Sasikala-nominee Palanisami to form the government as he shown the support of more than 118 MLAs. His camp has claimed the support of 124 MLAs.

Reports say that the governor has gone by numbers and not public sentiment, which is against the Palanisami camp. The swearing-in could happen any time today, but after 3:15 pm which is when the auspicious period begins.

The Governor told the minister, who was earlier elected leader of the AIADMK legislature party after Sasikala’s legal troubles, to take oath on Thursday evening, the Raj Bhavan said.

Palanisamy will have to prove his majority in the assembly within 15 days, the Governor’s office said.

The decision was conveyed to Palanisamy when he called on the Governor earlier in the day.

The news triggered wild celebrations at a resort near here where AIADMK MLAs backing the now jailed Sasikala are holed up.

Palanisamy’s supporters claimed on Wednesday night that he had the backing of 124 of the 135 party legislators as opposed to acting Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

AIADMK sources said Panneerselvam, who had wanted to remain the Chief Minister, went into a huddle with his supporters after the Governor told Palanisamy to take oath.

Who is Edappadi K Palaniswamy

Amid the bitter turf war between AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala and chief minister O Panneerselvam, the 63-year-old loyalist of late J Jayalalithaa was elected leader of AIADMK legislature party to facilitate his elevation as Tamil Nadu chief minister.

“He was an unwavering loyalist of late Jayalalithaa, and chose to side with V K Sasikala after O Panneerselvam revolted against the interim general secretary,” a close aide of Palaniswami told PTI.

Born into an agriculture family, Palaniswami began his political career in the AIADMK in 1974 as an ordinary party member.

A native of Nedungulam village in Salem district, he later became a local level party secretary for Siluvampalayam in Edappadi Panchayat Union in Salem.

A Science graduate, he swore allegiance to Jayalalithaa when the AIADMK split into two factions, one led by her and the other by party founder M G Ramachandran’s wife Janaki, after MGR’s death in 1987.

In 1985, even before the demise of MGR, Palaniswami’s followers say he had put up a separate party flag mast “honouring” Puratchi Thalaivi Amma across Edappadi region.

In 1990, when Jayalalithaa unified the AIADMK, he was elevated as Salem North District joint secretary.

 In 1989, 1991, 2011 and 2016 assembly polls, he won from Edappadi constituency. When the AIADMK was routed in the 1996 assembly polls, he too lost from Edapadi.

Similarly, he was defeated in the 2001, 2006 assembly polls and the 1999 and 2004 parliamentary polls. In 1998, he went to Lok Sabha by winning the Tiruchengode Lok Sabha seat.

A grass-roots level leader, Palaniswamy’s growth in the party in a career spanning over 40 years has been steady.

His clout in the AIADMK saw a dramatic rise when it won 10 of 11 assembly segments in Salem district in the 2016 polls.

Acknowledging his contributions, he was given the key portfolio of public works, besides highways and minor ports, which he had already been holding.

Since 2011, he is the minister for highways and minor ports and he was among the senior ministers who had proximity to Jayalalithaa.

He has held various party posts including propaganda secretary, organisation secretary, and disciplinary committee member.