Edappadi Palaniswami’s first act as Chief Minister was to reinforce the welfare agenda set by late Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. Palaniswamy ordered the shutdown of 500 state run liquor stores, hiked maternity benefits from Rs 12000 to Rs 18000, and promised houses for fishermen.
The Chief Minister filed five files days after he won the Trust Vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, referring to the closure of TASMAC stores, 50% subsidy for working women to buy a 2-wheeler, increasing maternity benefits by Rs 5000, monthly assistance to unemployed youth, and building of 5000 houses for fishermen at the cost of Rs 1,70,000 per house.
“We are facing a drought situation in TN. Government will work swiftly to ensure compensation reaches farmers at the earliest. TN government will ensure drinking needs of people are met,” Edappadi Palaniswami said.
With a picture of Jayalalithaa prominently placed on the desk as he addressed the media, Palaniswami’s move is a clear attempt to show that he is following in the late CM’s footsteps. All the orders signed by Palaniswami are in fact poll promises made by Jayalalithaa ahead of the elections last year.
As he takes over the reins amidst a lot of criticism that he is a proxy for Sasikala, whether Palaniswami will be able to win the confidence of the people of Tamil Nadu remains to be seen.