‘CM consolidating grip on party, government’

The recent developments in the state stand testimony to the fact that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has successfully carved a place for himself in the party and the government, feel political observers.
Edappadi K Palaniswami
Edappadi K Palaniswami

Chennai

They said that Palaniswami has risen from the ranks in the party and showed his grip over the government when he prevailed upon the Centre to get his choice of candidate as the head of the police department, superseding other senior IPS officers on Friday night.  Analysts said that his circumspect approach towards the Centre has started paying the desired dividends for him. 
On the day DGP TK Rajendran got a two-year extension, EPS asserted his position in the party by formally launching the 6-month-long birth centenary celebrations of the AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister MGR in Madurai.  The party and the state-machinery consciously portrayed him as the successor to the legacy of MGR and late CM J Jayalalithaa. 
The same state government had buckled earlier to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who mooted amendments to the State Universities Act besides dissolving V-C-search panel for Anna University, and brought amendments aimed at keeping V-C appointments out of the political loop by way of an Ordinance. EPS chose to silently wade through the entire situation, even as the issue got Opposition tongues wagging, while his cabinet colleagues did all the fire-fighting. 
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi established contact with EPS to garner support for the NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, EPS took the lead by extending support for him, while the rebel factions, including former chief minister O Panneerselvam and the ruling party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, who also enjoys a support of sizeable MLAs and MPs, following the suit. He did not fail to cash-in on the ‘Iftar’ hosted by the party wherein prominence was reserved to him in the banners. 
Political analyst Ravindran Doraisamy said, “EPS is asserting himself as the leader of the party and as well as the government in host of issues ranging from ‘Iftar’ party, MGR centenary celebrations and extending support to Ram Nath Kovind.” On securing Rajendran’s extension as DGP, a senior Cabinet Minister told DT Next that the appointment is at the discretion of the state. 
However, the rival camps offered a different perspective. An ardent supporter of TTV Dinakaran and a legislator, on condition of anonymity, observed that EPS acted on the instructions from Dinakaran. 
Former minister and OPS supporter KP Munusamy dismissed the claim and observed that the DGP tenure extension could be a mere goodwill gesture of Centre ahead of the  Presidential polls. 
Sasikala trusts EPS, reveals Natarajan 
AIADMK (Amma) general secretary VK Sasikala trusts Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his governance, said M Natarajan, her husband in an interview to a private TV channel.
Responding to Palaniswami supporting NDA Presidential candidate ahead of TTV Dinakaran’s nod, Natarajan maintained the decision was taken in concurrence with Sasikala as Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai had disclosed in Delhi. “The dissent voice against Dinakaran in the party is temporary and excommunication of Dinakaran could be done only by Sasikala, who wants both EPS and Dinakaran to work in tandem and that there are no factions in the party,” he added. 
On Sasikala reigning in Dinakaran to wait for 2-months and his clash with uncle Dhivakaran, Natarajan said there was only a difference of opinion among the family members which was being addressed and Dinakaran continues to discharge his party work. “The time-frame she had given might be linked to the review petition coming up in the SC and the impending Presidential polls,” he opined. 
Stating that the CBI inquiry sought by former CM O Panneerselvam into late CM J Jayalalithaa’s death could have been sanctioned when he was in power, Natarajan said, “It is unethical for politicians in the state to doubt Jayalalithaa’s death.” As for the Election Commission deciding on general secretary Sasikala, Natarajan said, “The EC has no locus standi to decide on this and Sasikala should have gone to the Court in this regard. If it comes to an election for that post, she will contest it.”
DGP awarded by CM to cover up Koovathur excesses: Stalin 
Lashing out at Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for extending the term of TK Rajendran as DGP, despite his alleged involvement in Gutka scam, Leader of Opposition MK Stalin on Sunday said the CM was protecting the officer to cover up backdoor negotiations made in Koovathur. Addressing a rally in Kancheepuram, Stalin said, “Palaniswami has given a bumper prize to DGP Rajendran to cover up Koovathur celebrations and other excesses committed by his regime.” Accusing the Chief Minister of overlooking seniority, the DMK working president said the state has ‘headless’ government. Reiterating that Palaniswami was heading a “benami and horse trading government,” Stalin said, “Wherever I go, people ask me when the benami government would end.”  Claiming that it would happen soon, Stalin said that the DMK did not make efforts and it would not have to. “They (AIADMK) would topple the government themselves. It will happen soon,” he remarked 

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