Challenges before new CM of Tamil Nadu: Trust hurdle over, Edappadi K Palanisamy faces steeplechase

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February 18, 2017

CHENNAI – Winning Saturday’s trust vote — in an empty Assembly — was only the first hurdle for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy.

Chief Minister E K Palaniswami leaves State Secretariat on Saturday. PTI

February 18, 2017

CHENNAI – Winning Saturday’s trust vote — in an empty Assembly — was only the first hurdle for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy.

Chief Minister E K Palaniswami leaves State Secretariat on Saturday. PTI

According to a party veteran, who is not an MLA, and claimed to be part of neither camps in AIADMK, the Sasikala camp has reportedly decided to make her nephew and the party’s new deputy general secretary, T T V Dinakaran, as the next chief minister. “The result of the political crisis would have been different had Sasikala become the CM. Many leaders close to the family are spreading reports of plans to make Dinakaran the CM in a few months by fielding him from R K Nagar (late J Jayalalithaa’s constituency).”

In a state that has seen derailment of administrative hierarchies and governance for several months, Palanisamy’s primary challenge, say bureaucrats, may be to get the right officers to assist him, and the current Chief Secretary, Girija Vaidyanathan, known as a no-nonsense officer. Having thrown out all key officials and advisers who served the Jayalalithaa cabinet, including Sheela Balakrishnan, who is unlikely to return, sources said Palanisamy, 63, might recall some others. This, the sources added, will be on the lines of Jayalalithaa, who also appointed senior retired IAS officers as the CM’s adviser.

 “The CM’s Office alone has more than 400 crucial files pending. In all, there will be more than 1,000 urgent files before the government, besides other key subsidiaries and government wings,” a senior secretary in the government said. “More than a hundred promotions are pending in key posts, and several crucial posts in law and order and intelligence (wings are to be filled). These may be the first tasks before the new CM.”

Tamil Nadu also has had no conference of Collectors and Superintendents of Police since 2013.

Besides administrative crises, Palanisamy will have to work at finding solutions for the impending water crisis and drinking water shortage. “The situation is already getting worse, as farmer suicides continue in many parts of TN,” said a senior policy consultant to the state government who had worked with Jayalalithaa. “Our neighbouring states are also short of water (that can be shared with TN).”

On the political front, Palanisamy will have to keep his MLAs happy. One MLA who had spent time holed up at Golden Bay Resort near Chennai, claimed that neither Palanisamy nor Dinakaran are giving respect due to senior MLAs. “They tell us all MLAs and leaders are equal before the party. But how can they treat a leader with 30 years’ experience and one who is three years in the party equally,” the MLA asked.

Another senior AIADMK leader, who had been a minister earlier, said it was neither their sympathy for Sasikala nor rivalry with Panneerselvam that kept many of them with the former. It was sheer lack of options, the leader added. “Many of us recall bad experiences with the Sasikala family. But if we had joined the rival camp, the government would have fallen, and that would have benefited DMK,” he said.


Courtesy: Indian Express