Chennai: “En vazhkaila ovvoru naalum ovvoru nimishamum yen ovvoru nodiyum naana sedhukkunadhu da“. (‘Each and every day, minute and second of mine is sculpted by myself’) This popular dialogue from Ajith’s Billa 2 aptly suits Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who has come a long way since he occupied the top seat in February 2017.
In these last 2.5 years, Palaniswami, the joint coordinator of the AIADMK, has proved that he is a fast learner, both in government and political dynamics.
And, the recently-concluded Assembly session has conveyed a message to his opponents, critics and supporters – that EPS has clearly emerged as a leader, someone who can give rivals a run for their money.
He stepped in whenever the Opposition benches posed tough questions and gave them fitting answers, that, too, with facts and figures. His extempore eloquence has won him fans from the DMK and the Congress, too, while the AIADMK members see another Jayalalithaa in his style of functioning, says a senior journalist who covered the Assembly proceedings.
Even Deputy Leader of Opposition Durai Murugan, a veteran in the Assembly known for his oratorical skills, was left speechless when he had said they (DMK) had seen the AIADMK’s horoscope. For, pat came the reply from the CM, who said, “The fact that your (DMK) horoscope is not good, has left you hanging in balance, neither up (Centre) nor down (State). You believe neither in God nor in horoscope, how do you know? But we are faithful to God and believe in horoscope.”
When DMK members were up in arms against the comments made by Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar recalling the past statements of legislator V Senthil Balaji (who switched over from the AIADMK to the AMMK to the DMK in the last three years), Palaniswami shut them up by saying, “We are recalling the comments not to criticise you but to tell you about the character of the man who has joined you.”
The way he made use of Rule 110, to make announcements on schemes in various departments, implicitly positioned him as the political heir of ‘Amma’.
And Palaniswami did all these amid a threat from the DMK to pull his government down. “It is true that the DMK tried its best to woo some of our MLAs. But Palaniswami thwarted the plot in the initial stage itself in his unique style, making the DMK withdraw its no-confidence motion against the Speaker. M K Stalin, despite having huge strength in the Assembly, can’t do anything against the AIADMK government, which is why we see Palaniswami as a strong leader after Amma,” says an AIADMK office-bearer.