Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK co-cordinator Edappadi Palaniswami has emerged victorious yet again in his home constituency of Edappadi. Palaniswami was leading against DMKâ€™s T Sampath Kumar by over 70,000 votes as of 4 pm. This is the seventh time that Palaniswami has contested from the constituency, which has gained prominence and become synonymous with the leader ever since he became the CM in 2017.
Palaniswami belongs to the Gounder community, which is particularly dominant in the western region of Tamil Nadu. A four-time MLA from Edappadi, Palaniswami had won from the constituency in 1989, 1991, 2011 and 2016. He lost twice in the 1996 and 2006 elections to the PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi), a party which has been demanding the Vanniyar quota for a long time, and is now in alliance with the AIADMK. The Tamil Nadu government had approved a 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars within the Most Backward Classes category just minutes before the polls. Incidentally, the DMKâ€™s candidate T Sampath Kumar belongs to the Vanniyar community.
With no major political background, Palaniswami had climbed his way up the ranks within the AIADMK, eventually gaining Jayalalithaaâ€™s confidence and becoming a part of her close circle. He had been serving as the Minister for Highways, Public Works and Minor Ports in former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's cabinet. After the demise of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, Palaniswami was sworn-in as the CM in February 2017, following much political upheaval in the state.
Throughout his term as the CM, Palaniswami made efforts to project himself as a common man from an agricultural family, with humble origins. He has also made several promises to ensure farmer welfare. Recently in February, he inaugurated the Rs 565 crore Mettur surplus water scheme here on Friday. Last year, the Cauvery delta region was designated a â€˜Protected Agricultural Zoneâ€™ under his leadership, at a time when farmers had been protesting permissions granted towards hydrocarbon exploration projects in the region. Over the past four years, he has inaugurated or laid the foundation for various projects in the region, including a livestock research institute in the nearby town of Thalaivasal.
This is the first time that Palaniswami has contested from his hometown as the CM face.