22 June, 2021

Locked In A Stately Duel

Stalin and Palaniswami have contrasting personalities and skills. The battle lines are drawn clearly in Tamil Nadu.

Spot the difference
Stalin, far left, remains the dapper urbanite on a visit to a farm; EPS,left, blended in efforlessly with the environs on a similar foray
Locked In A Stately Duel

For a state used to cutthroat political rivalries between larger-than-life personas—MGR versus Karunanidhi, followed by Jayalalitha versus Karunanidhi—2021 was shaping into a half-hearted scrap devoid of a doughty duel. DMK’s M.K. Stalin sat pretty, relishing the disarray in the opposite camp, confident of grabbing power after ten years.

Everything, indeed, had fallen in place for 67-year-old Stalin—a planned succession, his elder brother’s challenge snuffed out, total control of the DMK established by ensconcing seniors in top positions, while promoting son Udhayanidhi unabashedly. The DMK’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2021 assembly elections was in a happy place.

Then, the unexpected happened. The AIADMK’s rival leaders—bitterly bickering till the other day—buried the hatchet. One of them, former CM O. Panneerselvam, announced the other, current CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS), as the CM candidate. Rather than being split down the middle, the AIADMK is rallying behind one man—EPS. A steeper climb...

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