“This emphatic win gains significance as it has cemented the position of Palaniswami as the only leader of the party. The party’s special focus on improving the infrastructure of Western districts proved to be a boon to the AIADMK in earning the goodwill of the people to gain votes,” said an AIADMK functionary.
According to party insiders, though AIADMK may have lost power in the State, Palaniswami is likely to have his grip over the party as most of the ministers, who backed him during the time of crisis during TTV Dhinakaran’s tiff with the party, have won with a comfortable majority.
The CM’s coterie of AIADMK Ministers including SP Velumani, KA Sengottaiyan, P Thangamani, KP Munusamy, Pollachi V Jayaraman and KP Anbalagan have all won with a thumping margin in the Western region.
They all were holding the coveted portfolios in the government and credit should go to this handful of ministers for keeping their flock together. Despite the AIADMK strong show in the Western region, political observers, however, sought to differ on the point of Edappadi K Palaniswami emerging as the face of AIADMK.
“A leader’s ability could be tested based on how he performs while in opposition, when not in power. If the AIADMK stays united with the sole purpose of resisting DMK, then they all can stay together. But if they are looking at long term factors, they might even choose someone else considering that the Kongu belt alone cannot bring the AIADMK back in power,” said political observer Ramu Manivannan.
Manivannan also claimed that Palaniswami is seen as a leader only because of his position as former Chief Minister. “He now represents a factional leadership. To be in the opposition and how others respond to the transition in the party is important to see if Palaniswami could emerge a strong leader,” he added.