Prayed at the MGR-Jayalalithaa temple minutes before the SC’s decision, says EPS.

After the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that former Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) could stay as the head of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), his supporters threw crackers, gave out sweets, and poured a pot of milk on his portrait at the party’s headquarters in Royapettah, Chennai.

When the news came out that EPS had won this long and bitter battle, he was in Madurai district for the wedding of the daughter of his supporter and senior leader R B Udhayakumar.

The verdict ends seven months of uncertainty in the AIADMK. Former chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) went to the top court to challenge a Madras high court order that allowed the general council meeting of July 11, 2022, where EPS was elected as the party’s interim general secretary and OPS and his supporters were kicked out.

“I’ve been counting down the days and haven’t been sleeping at night,” EPS said from the wedding podium. “I was so worried about the verdict on my way here. “I smiled on the outside, but not on the inside,” he said.

MGR, who started the party, and J Jayalalithaa, who took over after him, both have life-size statues in a temple in Madurai. In January 2021, Udhayakumar built it on a 12-acre plot of land.

“When I got into the car, Udhayakumar said, ‘Let’s go to the temple first, garland Amma and Thalaivar, and then go to the wedding hall.’ “I prayed at the temple to both of them that we would get a good verdict,” EPS said.

“They told me the news as I was leaving the temple. This is their strength. Both of our leaders have been there for us.”

With the verdict in hand, EPS will soon be made AIADMK general secretary, which is the top job in the party and was held by MGR and Jayalalithaa before them.

After Jayalalithaa died in December 2016, the warring factions of EPS and OPS merged, and their leaders took on new roles as joint-coordinator and coordinator. This made Jayalalithaa their “eternal general secretary.” The two jobs have been taken away. “My election will be decided soon by senior leaders,” EPS said.

Later, when asked about his rival-turned-colleague-turned-rival OPS at a press conference, EPS said that the verdict was the end of the story.

“Some people will not be taken back,” EPS said, referring to OPS and TTV Dhinakaran, who were kicked out of office in 2017 along with his aunt, V K Sasikala, who used to work for Jayalalithaa. EPS also said that they would bring back most of the people who had worked for the party before.

OPS has been upset about a number of things, including his expulsion, the end of the dual leadership, and the fact that Jayalalithaa is not still their “permanent general secretary.”

He had called EPS a dictator, and now he wants to take the party back from him.

K Vaithilingam, who backed OPS, put on a brave face. He said that the Supreme Court’s decision to let the July 11 proceedings go ahead won’t change anything about the case that is still going on in a civil court in Chennai.

“And the SC hasn’t said that the July 11 resolutions are okay. “We will fight the resolutions,” Vaithilingam said. “That’s the end. So, this doesn’t make a big difference for us. After reading the whole verdict, we’ll talk about what we’ll do next.”

EPS, who is 68 years old, went from being an accidental chief minister to becoming one of the most powerful people in Tamil Nadu. In Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet in 2016, he was only the fourth most important person. EPS wasn’t very well known until February 2017, when Sasikala chose him to be the chief minister after she was sent to prison in Bengaluru.

Since Jayalalithaa trusted OPS to be the acting chief minister twice when she was in jail, he always seemed like the obvious choice. OPS had also been in charge of the important portfolio of finance.

Not only did EPS beat OPS, but they also beat Sasikala, who used to be a powerful person in the AIADMK. Even though the AIADMK lost the assembly elections in 2021, the party’s candidate for chief minister, EPS, led one of the best campaigns the party has ever had in a losing election. He is still in charge of the Dravidian major for now.

“Today, truth and justice have won,” EPS said. “This decision has made 1.5 crore AIADMK cadre very happy. We’ll keep working on the party with a new spirit… Now, what matters is the by-election in Erode,” he said.

AIADMK candidate K S Thennarasu and Congress candidate EVKS Elangovan, who is running with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, will face off in the by-election on February 27. (DMK).

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