Home / Politics / Policy /  Who is Edappadi K. Palaniswami?

Chennai: Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the man handpicked by V.K. Sasikala to be Tamil Nadu chief minister, was invited by governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday to form the next government and prove his majority within 15 days. Palaniswami will be sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM at 4pm Thursday.

Rao’s move came after Palaniswami met him on Tuesday evening and staked claim to form the government. Palaniswami was appointed the leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)’s legislature party immediately after the Supreme Court convicted Sasikala in the longstanding disproportionate assets case.

ALSO READ | Sasikala convicted by Supreme Court, AIADMK on the brink

Who is Palaniswami?

The AIADMK leader is from Edappadi, a small town in Salem district. He is a Gounder, one of the two main communities along with the Thevars (or Mukkulathors) that have influenced the AIADMK.

The state minister for public works, highways and minor ports backed the late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa when the party faced similar turmoil in 1987 after the death of AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran.

ALSO READ | What next for Sasikala and Panneerselvam’s camps?

Palaniswami ranked next to O.Panneerselvam—the current caretaker chief minister—in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet. Having begun his political career in AIADMK in 1974, Palaniswami had a dramatic rise in the party ranks. He has won four assembly elections from his Edappadi constituency—in 1989, 1991, 2011 and 2016. In addition, he won the Lok Sabha seat from Tiruchengode in 1998.

Born in 1954, Palaniswami came up the ranks like Panneerselvam to become a confidante of Jayalalithaa. The Gounder community was a significant factor in the 2016 assembly elections. Jayalalithaa was faced with anti-incumbency, and it was the solid support of western Tamil Nadu with the Gounder community base that tilted the results in her favour.

In Palaniswami’s Salem district, the AIADMK won in 10 of the total 11 constituencies.

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