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India's Chanakyas: The Mani Twins Who Made E.K. Palaniswami King In Tamil Nadu

The two Manis fully shaped AIADMK’s alliances; they are the ears and hands of Tamil Nadu CM E.K. Palaniswami

India's Chanakyas: The Mani Twins Who Made E.K. Palaniswami King In Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu’s municipal administration minister S.P. Velumani (left) and electricity minister P. Thangmani (right)
India's Chanakyas: The Mani Twins Who Made E.K. Palaniswami King In Tamil Nadu
outlookindia.com
2019-03-25T17:58:11+0530

They are called the Mani twins. And they operate in tandem. Trouble-shooting, ­negotiations, deal-making, alliances…they test the waters before decision-makers step in and seal deals. They are Tamil Nadu’s municipal administration minister S.P. Velumani (in pic, left) and electricity minister P. Thangmani (in pic, right), both hailing from the Gounder community like CM E.K. Palaniswami—a reason why EPS trusts them. If the AIADMK took the DMK by surprise by allying with the PMK, the credit should go to the two Manis, for they had opened channels with PMK leader S. Rama­doss months ago through a common friend, realising that the pragmatic leader was open to an alliance with the AIADMK in spite of being a critic of the government. Elections: Number Game

Realising that the PMK’s presence was needed to win in the north, the duo gave in to its demands of seven LS seats and a RS seat…but only if the PMK supported AIADMK candidates in the assembly bypolls, as those were crucial for the government.

With PMK and BJP on board, the Manis started to work on the DMDK; when Vijay­kanth’s brother-in-law Sutheesh was fixed on getting the same terms as PMK, they gave him a deadline and cut off further talks, knowing he would return. Finally, the DMDK meekly accepted four seats.

The Manis also stepped in to repair the frosty ties between Ramadoss and Vijaykanth, and convinced the former to call on Captain and break the ice. Result: PMK has promised that their cadres would work for DMDK candidates with sincerity. All along the negotiations, Velumani and Thangmani ensured that EPS retained his pre-eminence, and would only make a final appearance, for the final formalities.

Get the latest election news, analysis, data and live updates on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 here.

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