Palaniswami set to become opposition leader of Tamil Nadu

Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the outgoing Chief minister and coordinator of AIADMK is all set to become the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly.

The meeting held at the party headquarters on Monday has reached a conclusion to elect EPS as the next opposition leader of Tamil Nadu. Sources in the AIADMK told IANS that EPS has got the support of 61 of the 66 party legislators.

EPS got the edge as he was considered instrumental in the party’s win in Western Tamil Nadu and Northern Tamil Nadu while in South Tamil Nadu, which is the turf of the Thevar community and thereby OPS, did not yield the necessary results for the party. In the Cumbum district of South Tamil Nadu, OPS was the lone winner from Bodinayakanur constituency while all the other AIADMK candidates had to bite the dust.

On the other hand, EPS won comfortably with more than 90,000 votes from his sitting constituency of Edappady in Salem district and also paved the way for the victory of 10 out of the 11 AIADMK candidates in the district.

The OPS faction in the party has alleged that the policy of 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanniyar community from within the Most Backward Caste quota has resulted in other castes and communities shifting their allegiance from the AIADMK. Panneerselvam and those close to him had put the blame squarely on Edappadi Palaniswami on this matter.

However, the overall acceptability EPS has had in the party and his public image has done him good in the selection for the post of opposition leader.

Earlier, the meeting of the AIADMK legislators held at the party headquarters on Friday had failed to arrive at a consensus with both Palaniswami (EPS) and O. Panneerselvam (OPS) staking claim for the post.

The Tamil Nadu assembly will convene on May 11 and the newly elected legislators will take the oath of office at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker will take place at 10 am on May 12.

The new Speaker will be escorted to his seat by both the Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition and hence pressure was mounting on the party to select the leader of opposition.