Explained: How Palaniswami proved he is Dhoni of TN politics

Chennai: Today, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has successfully completed two years in office. When the announcement about his becoming Chief Minister was made in 2017, many were surprised. And there were many others who predicted that his government would not last long. But, Palaniswami has proved his critics wrong.

His rise and present form can be compared to that of Indian cricketer M S Dhoni whose elevation as the T20 captain in 2007 came as a surprise to many. Like Dhoni, Palaniswami too has paced his innings steadily in the beginning and started hitting his shots after settling down.

Though the first year of Palaniswami’s tenure was filled with opposition and uncertainty, he weathered them with patience to make it to the second year and since then has been leaving his stamp in many areas. To put it in the words of AIADMK MLA S Semmalai, Palaniswami has been hitting sixes in recent times. He has been soft and stern, depending on the situation.

His announcement of Rs 1,000 as Pongal gift and Rs 2,000 for people living below the poverty line is seen as a master stroke by political pundits. Palaniswami has often boasted that this government is run for farmers by a farmer and said 23 lakh farmers have taken up crop insurance.

Ever since Palaniswami became Chief Minister, there have been plenty of protests in the State, the latest being by members of JACTTO-GEO. However, the way in which he handled the situation was lauded by many. The announcement about plastic ban and its implementation from 1 January 2019 is another feather in Palaniswami’s cap.

THIS AND THAT

Palaniswami lent a helping hand when neighbouring Kerala was reeling under water but was also quick to object to the Kerala government’s proposal to construct a new Mullaiperiyar dam. He also stood his ground in the Mekedatu issue and objected to the Karnataka government constructing a reservoir across the Cauvery at that point.

Recently, he said legal action will be taken to ensure that Andhra Pradesh does not construct check-dams across the Palar river.

HE MEANS BUSINESS

At a time when there was talk that Tamilnadu had become hostile to industries, the Palaniswami-led government successfully completed the second edition of Global Investors Meet during which 304 MoUs were signed entailing investments of over Rs 3,00,431 crore.

FACING GAJA

The government’s swift action and preparations during Gaja cyclone were appreciated even by the Opposition parties, including arch rival DMK. Palaniswami announced that one lakh concrete houses will be built for those who lost their houses to the cyclone.

STERLITE ALRIGHT

After the firing during the 100th day of the Thoothukudi Sterlite protest, Palaniswami defended the action of the police saying that the they resorted to firing only because the protests had turned violent. He also ordered a probe into the incident by a retired judge. The government stood its ground by closing down the Sterlite Industries and not allowing it to reopen.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

The big test for the AIADMK will be the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The party has called for nominations for all the 40 constituencies (39 in Tamilnadu and 1 in Puducherry).

THE P FACTOR

Though rumours often surface that there is a rift between Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, they both have strongly maintained that not even a tsunami can separate their partnership. Both the leaders have been hand in hand to helm the government and party, respectively.

Balasubramani Muniyandi