Palaniswami may be AIADMK’s CM candidate in 2021 polls, hints minister

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that there was no leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics. Photo: PTI File.

Edapaddi Palaniswami is likely to remain the chief ministerial candidate of the AIADMK for the 2021 assembly elections, a senior party leader has hinted at the general council and executive meeting of the party in Chennai.

Electricity minister P Thangamani’s speech at the meeting on Sunday (November 24) is sure to have sent a current through the rank and file of the party, as it took potshots at actor-politician Rajinikanth and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who was once associated with the AIADMK.

“Many thought that the present government will be in power for one or two days. But the victory in Nanguneri and Vikkiravandi bypolls have answered their doubts. They say that EPS has come to power due to miracles. On the contrary, he came to power because of his hard work. In 2021, a miracle is waiting to happen. The present AIADMK rule will continue. We should handover a great victory to EPS,” Thangamani said.

Rajinikanth had recently said miracles have happened in the state and they can still happen, in reference to the government in Tamil Nadu following the death of former AIADMK supremo, the late J Jayalalithaa.

Targetting the actor for his recent statements, Palaniswami said, “Some speak even before starting a party. We don’t worry whoever is starting a party.”

He also hit out Dhinakaran and his family, saying, “AIADMK is not a slave to anyone.”

The general council and executive meeting, which was being held after two years — since the death of former general secretary, late J Jayalalithaa — also passed 23 resolutions. Prominent among these was an amendment to a rule that now requires candidates to have five years of party membership to contest elections for party positions.

This is seen as a move to prevent VK Sasikala, a former close aide of Jayalalithaa, and her family — including her nephew TTV Dhinakaran — from returning or holding party positions.

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Chief Minister Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam were among the top leaders, ministers, MLAs and 4,000 cadres to attend the meet.

Among other significant resolutions taken were the continuation of two language policy, to ensure reservations for OBCs in the PG medical courses, to get exemption from NEET exams and ensuring the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The party also expressed gratitude to the Centre on issues like laying foundation stones for AIIMS hospital in Madurai, rechristening of Chennai Central railway station to after AIADMK founder and former chief minister MG Ramachandran (MGR). For administrative reasons, the party districts have been increased to 56, from 50.