At poll campaign launch, EPS gets backing of home crowd but will that be enough?

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 12/23/2020 12:51:39 PM

Chennai, Dec 22 The AIADMK cadres of Salem thronged the Sendrayya Perumal Koil temple at Edappadi on December 19, when Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy officially launched his party’s campaign for Tamil Nadu Assembly election 2021. The official launch of AIADMK campaign from Edappadi is significant for the party workers as it is the hometown of EPS. His home constituency, which is over 400 km from Chennai, has been a strong bastion for the AIADMK. The party has won this seat six times since 1989 including four by EPS himself. This is the first assembly election in Tamil Nadu after the death of former Chief Minister and AIADMK boss J Jayalalithaa. The party has faced several crises since her death with many doubting a stable future for the AIADMK. Though after the demise of their Iron Lady, the critics said the party would fall apart but the ruling government in spite of many hurdles has managed to sustain and is on the course to complete its full term. C Ponnaiyan, senior leader in the AIADMK, said, “There is no absence of iron personality in Tamil Nadu. Amma was an iron personality following the footsteps of MGR, who was a ‘Super Iron’ personality. Edappadi is a super iron personality just like Amma and MGR.” CM Palanisamy, who was a senior leader in the Jayalalithaa government, was considered to be a light-weight politician in the party compared to O Panneerselvam or OPS as he is popularly called. OPS had twice stepped into the shoes of Jayalalithaa during her absence serving as Tamil Nadu chief minister. But following the death of Jayalalithaa, Palanisamy, who was close to Sasikala, grew in stature within the party and secured the chief ministerial berth for himself. EPS has managed to win over the party members after becoming Tamil Nadu chief minister. He has grown in status in the eyes of the party members. The man from Edappadi has developed a formidable supporters’ base in his hometown. Murugamma, 75, said “I like EPS, and I will vote for him. I won’t vote for Rajini or Kamal. I used to vote for Amma and now I will vote for AIADMK only.” The AIADMK is facing challenges from its rivals who are looking at claiming the political legacy of its founder, MGR. The former chief minister, an actor- turned-politician, has been invoked by almost everyone who is trying to set their base in the state be it Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan or the AIADMK ally — the BJP. “Kamal or Rajini or the BJP’s statements show that MGR’s personality and ideology are popular. No one can take away the personality of MGR as it is draped in ideology, culture and Kamal was a Shivaji fan from the beginning in cine field. Rajini wherever he utters his views he used to utter his North Indian views and closing his speech with Jai Hind which is not acceptable to Tamil spoil. MGR’s hegemony is enjoyed by EPS. Rajini is not yet a politician. Kamal Hassan is not a politician he doesn’t know the root problem of the people of Tamil Nadu,” said Ponnaiyan. Shivalingam, another voter in Edappadi said, “Any actor who comes to politics will not have any impact on TN politics. EPS has been doing great work here. He has been working bringing Tamil Nadu in the forefront. He has been working for the welfare of the people in the state.” “Tamil Nadu CM will only be the CM here. What has Rajini done here? He has only done for Karnataka. Only people who have worked here for years will come back to power,” said Senthil, another local from the region. As far as the constituency of Edappadi — and the little town of Siluvampalayam there — is concerned, the people here are proud of their chief minister. Many of them have fond memories of EPS to tell. Kandasamy, 74, has seen EPS since his childhood. He is EPS’s neighbour from his ancestral home. Kandamsamy said they went to the same school and though EPS is younger to him he has many memories with the CM.

 

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