Putting at rest the confusion that prevailed in the AIADMK for quite some time, the party on Wednesday unanimously elected incumbent Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami as its chief ministerial candidate for the 2021 Assembly elections.
Besides, the 11-member steering committee became a reality after three years wherein Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam had their members in the ratio of 6:5. However, the powers of this committee have not been announced. Senior leaders said it would be finalised during the ensuing general council meeting.
"With joy, I announce that Palaniswami has been unanimously elected as the victorious CM candidate of the party for 2021 elections," Panneerselvam announced amidst cheers from party functionaries. Cadre burst crackers and distributed sweets to celebrate the moment.
#EdappadiPalaniswani was named as the CM candidate of #AIADMK for #TNElections2020 by TN Dy CM #OPaneerselvam at the party headquarters in Chennai earlier today.— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) October 7, 2020
Express photos | @Jawahar_TNIE.@xpresstn pic.twitter.com/lQf0Hv8pzG
Thanking the party for announcing him as the CM candidate, Palaniswami, in his tweet, promised that he would work tirelessly for making the AIADMK as a victorious political movement and that he would lead the party in accordance with the views of the party cadre.
At the press meet, firstly, Palaniswami announced the names of the members of the steering committee, and following this, Panneerselvam announced the election of Palaniswami as the CM candidate. The announcements came after marathon talks that lasted till 3.15 a.m. on Wednesday.
For the first time, the AIADMK has announced its chief ministerial candidate as well as a steering committee for the party. Besides, there is no representation for women in this committee since former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa used to appoint women in all fora of the party at the State level and at the grassroots level.
The steering committee is comprised of Ministers Dindigul C Sreenivasan, P Thangamani, SP Velumani, D Jayakumar, CVe Shanmugam, and R Kamaraj, organising secretaries JCD Prabhakar, PH Manoj Pandian and P Mohan, election committee joint secretary R Gopala Krishnan, and K Manikam MLA from Sholavandan constituency.
Asked why seniors like KA Sengottaiyan were not inducted into the steering committee, R Vaithilingam, Deputy Coordinator of the party said, "Already he has some key posts including organising secretary. But many more opportunities are there for others like election committee etc.,"
Questioned whether the same situation would prevail even after the release of VK Sasikala from the prison, SDCP Council chairman C Ponnaiyan said "She has no connection with the AIADMK as she is not a member of the party."
After the announcements, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam accompanied by all Ministers and functionaries visited the memorials of former Chief Ministers MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa and paid their respects.
In the evening, Palaniswami called on Panneerselvam at the latter's residence and thanked him for announcing him as the party's CM candidate. Most of the members of the steering committee and P Ravindranath, son of Panneerselvam were also present during the meeting which lasted for around 45 minutes.
When Panneerselvam stepped out of his car, Ravindranath presented him with a shawl and touched his feet as a mark of taking blessings from him.
Meanwhile, reacting to the developments in the AIADMK, senior leader of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, Pon Radhakrishnan said "It is indeed a happy development. This has thwarted the expectations of those (political adversaries) who were waiting to take political advantage of the differences of opinion among the AIADMK leaders. I congratulate Palaniswami on his being elected as CM candidate and I also greet Panneerselvam who has taken the decision."
Asked whether Palaniswami could be projected as the CM candidate of the AIADMK-led alliance, Radhakrishnan said, " That could be decided at the time of elections. But I am sure in 2021 Assembly elections, whichever party allies with the BJP will form the government in Tamil Nadu."
Profile of Palaniswami
1974 - Joined the AIADMK; became secretary of the party's branch in
Siluvampalayam village in Salem district
1989 - Elected as MLA from Edappadi constituency in cock symbol ( J
1991-96 - Elected from Edappadi constituency as MLA
1998-1999 - MP, Tiruchengode Lok Sabha constituency
1990-91 - Salem north district secretary of the AIADMK
2003 - Chairman, Tamil Nadu Cements Corporation
2007 - Organising secretary of the AIADMK
2011-16 - Elected from Edappadi constituency for the third time.
Served as Highways Minister
2016 - Elected from Edapapdi constituency for the fourth time. Served
as PWD and Highways Minister
2017 - Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu