Edappadi Palaniswami stays as the supremo of AIADMK as its (interim) General Secretary, a post created by J Jayalalithaa. Reduced to a rump presence is O Panneerselvam, his mentor VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran. It was always clear that EPS had the people’s mandate and he also asserted himself in the party by rallying an absolute majority of the leaders. It stood to reason that the Supreme Court would note that the essence of any party is where its majority lies or who its majority favours. The Thevar clan, who relied too much on their financial clout rather than the public support that Jaya had built, is well and truly out of it now. EPS would be least inclined to listen to pleas for greater unity in the party by bringing back the dangerous Mannargudi clan. EPS may have convinced the BJP already that this is the way the party will operate. Of course, its great test lies in how many votes the party can garner in the Erode East bypoll. The result itself may be a nearly foregone conclusion but the voting percentage would indicate how much of a clout EPS and his original AIADMK has among the people. Given the top court ruling, the BJP will be backing EPS fully now, regardless of how much personal rapport OPS had with the highest powers.