The much awaited 5 state elections of the year is complete. As usual, Tamil Nadu has seen a battle full of surprises. Even though, most of the exit polls and opinion polls predicted a huge mandate for DMK and allies, the voters have undermined the victor yet again.
AIADMK, led by Edappadi Palaniswami has put a valiant fight. Most notably, political pundits across the country mocked BJP saying the national party would not even pick a single seat. On the contrary, BJP resorted to 4 seats and gave a tough fight in several constituencies.
Political pundits also predicted an end game for AIADMK. Rather, the party led by Edappadi Palaniswami gave a tough fight to its rival. Reportedly, even now the victory margins in various constituencies are in double digits.
While the haters keep calling it as an AIADMK debacle, the truth is AIADMK has yet again proved its relevance. Thanks to EPS who led the party diligently and proved AIADMK and its allies are a force to reckon with.
Fighting the Odds within the Party
He had a lot to fight with. From the time (i.e., 2017) he took over as Chief Minister of the state, he faced several hardships. Yet, he eliminated the odds and retained the government. The most significant of all battles that he faced was the Sasikala and TTV Dinakaran factor.
After her conviction in the infamous Disproportionate Assets Case, Sasikala relied upon EPS to reserve the government and the party for her to take over. But, he made a smart move by consolidating the OPS faction and emerged as the unanimous leader. Since then, he has kept the party intact and abiding to his rules.
Reducing the Effects of the 1st Pandemic Wave in Tamil Nadu
The major challenge for him came in the form of COVID-19 in early 2020. While states like Maharashtra, New Delhi and even the Mamata led West Bengal were struggling to contain the virus in the first wave, EPS worked tirelessly along with the state health department and had it controlled with an iron fist.
Well, this is a fact which many would disagree. But, the data says Tamil Nadu was among the few states which worked hardly to reduce the effect of the virus. Compared to other states, the defensive measures taken in Tamil Nadu is far more robust.
Recently, there were reports of having TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK as an ally. Also, speculations of Sasikala taking over the mantle of AIADMK again. But, EPS showed the way out to both. As a result, Sasikala announced her retirement from active politics. Also, AMMK drew a blank with insignificant vote share.
Thwarting Random Criticism & Negative Perception
The principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu was often mocking him as the agent of Central Government. His stance on NEET exam and other key issues was allowing them to brand him as one. Moreover, in the last lap of the election campaigns, a former union minister made some derogatory comments on EPS. Even while answering those comments, he kept his cool and gave a smart fitting reply.
The results stand a testament to how he was battling the negative perception on him. Even though AIADMK lost, they garnered around 33 percent of votes which is the average AIADMK vote bank.
There are more facts to credit EPS. We can very well claim that he fought the battles the same way as his former supremo Jayalalithaa did. Even though, her efforts ensured a unanimous victory for the party in 2016, the efforts put on by EPS brought the party to the 2006 scenario. From here on, we can expect AIADMK playing the role of a tough opposition in Tamil Nadu in the coming days.
Will that revive the party’s victory in the upcoming General Elections and 2026 Assembly? Let us wait and watch. But, we can pretty well conclude that EPS is filling the Jayalalithaa Vacuum in AIADMK.
While we get you more exciting updates, keep watching this space for exciting updates on the 5 state elections.
Image Source: Wikipedia