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Edappadi Palaniswami – Man who Got the Prize Money in Tamil Nadu’s Political Jallikattu

A farmer who took to politics, Palaniswami has always been a regular at Poes Garden, favoured by both Amma and Chinnamma.

Poornima Murali | News18.com

Updated:February 16, 2017, 5:34 PM IST
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Edappadi Palaniswami – Man who Got the Prize Money in Tamil Nadu’s Political Jallikattu
AIADMK Legislative Party Leader 'Edappadi' Palaniswamy along with Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao (PTI Photo)
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Chennai: Palaniswami's name cropped up just an hour after VK Sasikala was pronounced guilty by the Supreme Court in the 1996 disproportionate assets case on Wednesday.

Sasikala camp MLAs, numbering more than 125, elected him as the legislature party leader to keep rival O Panneerselvam at bay.

So, who is Palaniswami and why was he picked by Sasikala for the top slot?

A farmer who took to politics, Palaniswami has always been a regular at Poes Garden, favoured by both Amma and Chinnamma.

When Jayalalithaa was seriously ill at the Apollo Hospital he was tipped to take over her portfolios, including police. How OPS got the nod ahead was never clear.

Throughout the drama following Panneerselvam's rebellion, Palaniswami unflinchingly backed Sasikala, attacking OPS and gathering AIADMK MLAs around to support her. Before the MLAs were shepherded to Golden Bay resort in Mahabalipuram on the outskirts of Chennai, they were reportedly first taken to Palaniswami's house.

Palaniswami is no pushover politically either. He is a third-time MLA from Edappadi in the Kongu region which elected candidates from 45 out of 57 seats - a crucial contribution in Jayalalithaa's reduced majority in 2016.

Palaniswami's is a Gounder, a dominant backward caste which forms the backbone of the AIADMK along with the Thevar community to which Sasikala belongs - which makes it a clever political balancing act.

Sasikala's nephew TTV Dinakaran was subsequently chosen AIADMK's deputy general secretary.It clearly shows that though Palaniswami is in the saddle the reins would still be with the 'Mannargudi Mafia' the name given to Sasikala's extended family which controls AIADMK.

| Edited by: Smrithin Satishan
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