Cult of EPS: Sycophancy rules as AIADMK ministers sing paeans to CM
The governor’s address on Monday, too, sought to highlight that Palaniswami had displayed intent after assuming office in February 2017 by announcing and implementing a slew of schemes under Assembly Rule 110, which does not entail a discussion.Updated: Jan 10, 2020 20:50 IST
Sycophancy has returned to the AIADMK with a bang, with ministers and party frontline leaders vying with one another to sing paeans to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), who has emerged as the party’s savior after Jayalalithaa’s demise had left it with an uncertain future.
It has become routine for ministers in Tamil Nadu assembly to pay lofty tributes to the CM before speaking on any occasion and outside the house, other party leaders don’t let any opportunity to demonstrate their reverence, slip.
“The chief minister had scored nine runs on a single ball,” was the latest gem of praise offered by state health minister C Vijayabhaskar, who was on Wednesday, crediting EPS for getting Centre’s approval for starting nine new medical colleges in the state.
“No other state had got the Centre’s nod for so many medical colleges at one go,” he said, equating CM’s achievements to a near-impossible feat in the game of cricket.
The governor’s address on Monday, too, sought to highlight that Palaniswami had displayed intent after assuming office in February 2017 by announcing and implementing a slew of schemes under Assembly Rule 110, which does not entail a discussion.
“Since February 2017, Hon’ble Chief Minister has made 453 announcements under rule 110…of this 113 have been fully implemented while for 303 necessary sanctions have been issued and are under implementation..,” it read.
The height of sycophancy, some may say, was seen when Tamil Nadu was recently spared by a cyclone that changed its course and the Revenue and Disaster Management Minister RB Udhyakumar credited the chief minister.
“Even the cyclone goes away, afraid of the Chief Minister, who presides over an upright and responsible government,” he had said.
Not long ago, in September, when EPS left for a foreign tour to attract investments, former ministers and party functionaries prostrated at his feet in reverence.
The AIADMK is unfazed despite criticism that the party was returning to the level of sycophancy seen under the late Jayalalithaa.
“When EPS took over, doomsday predictions that the party will disintegrate and that the AIADMK had no future, were made. But, proving them wrong, EPS has consolidated the party and restored the confidence of the cadre,” explains Sivasankari, party spokesperson.
She highlights another important aspect of AIADMK’s revival under Palaniswami.
“DMK patriarch Karunanidhi had party founder CN Annadurai as his mentor, Jayalalithaa had MGR, Stalin had his father, Karunanidhi. The Chief Minister had none but has proved his mettle and under him the party has withstood all the challenges. As such, he is being praised in recognition of his contribution and leadership,” says Sivasankari.
Many AIADMK leaders credit EPS with saving the government through crucial victories in the assembly bypolls held along with the Lok Sabha elections last April. Though AIADMK was washed out in LS polls, it won 9 out of 21 bypoll seats to prevent the collapse of its government.
Subsequently, the AIADMK wrested both bypoll seats in October, one from the DMK and the other from the Congress, enhancing Palaniswami’s image and tightening his grip over the party and the government.
Karu Nagarajan, state BJP secretary concurs and reasons that building a larger than life persona for EPS is perhaps the need of the hour for the AIADMK.
“One has to give credit to EPS for not only saving the AIADMK from the brink of collapse, against the expectations of political pundits, but also for making it a fighting force. He has been a unifying figure and has brought home many who had deserted the party fold. Moreover, if not the AIADMK ministers and leaders, who then will project their leadership to the masses?” he argues.
However, the opposition sees the ‘sycophancy’ as an ingrained weakness in AIADMK’s culture since the days of Jayalalithaa.
“The leopard can’t change its spots! In the AIADMK, they are trained in that way. Further, it is an indication that EPS has emerged stronger than the Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) and endeared himself more to the BJP and the Centre. As such, the ministers and functionaries know well which side of the bread is buttered,” says TKS Elangovan, MP, DMK Organising Secretary.
“But, this descent to sycophancy does not augur well for Tamil Nadu and its democratic politics,” he added.