Can Edappadi Palaniswami Emerge Victorious in His Battling Days?

Image credit: The Times of India

Edappadi K Palaniswami, the current general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, has been portrayed as the epic hero Bahubali in a recent poster in Coimbatore. Known for his veshti-sattai, it comes as a surprise to many that Edappadi is portrayed as the hero of Indian cinema, who symbolizes strength, courage, and resilience.

EPS has seen his star shine after a successful 2021 election, where the party led by him won 66 seats in total. He has also been successful in defeating former foes and consolidating new friendships and alliances. However, EPS has had to take over AIADMKwhich poses a different challenge: it is a party that is bereft of further direction, after being in distress.

Despite his legal victories and as the sixth general secretary to join the ranks of party founders MGR and J Jayalalithaa, running a party with a depleting legacy is no easy feat, and EPS may find himself in the position of Bahubali, the hero of a legendary tale, locked in a battle of Herculean proportions. While party devotees may perceive EPS as a heroic figure, the general pubic may just see it as comic relief.

AIADMK, the party of EPS, is one of India’s oldest regionalpolitical parties and has remained relevant since its inception in 1972. Founded owing to the charismatic leadership of MG Ramachandran,popularly known as MGR, the proposed six goals – “prosperity, peace, progress, education, equality, and humanism” – made their mark on Tamil Nadu’s politics. After MGR’s death, the party was led by J Jayalalithaa, and now EPS.

EPS has to battle against those living in the shadows of his predecessors. He is expected to prove worthy of his title ‘Bahubali’; however, it remains to be seen whether or not he will be successful in infusing the once powerful party with life and leading it to its former glory. This is perhaps the most daunting challenge EPS has to face, making him the principal protagonist of an intense Tamil Nadu theatre.