The AIADMK legislative party on Sunday chose its general secretary VK Sasikala to replace chief minister O Panneerselvam who resigned shortly before the crucial meeting began in the afternoon.
Sasikala will call on Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao to submit the party’s decision and stake claim to form the government. According to senior AIADMK leaders, Sasikala’s swearing in as the third woman chief minister of the state will take place on February 9.
The latest development is in line with the party’s old structure of a single seat of power.
After her election as legislative party leader, Sasikala said that she would work for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and further the programmes and policies of Amma.
Addressing party MLAs, Sasikala said, “Following the demise of our honourable Amma
(AIADMK members address Jayalalithaa as Amma), it was Thiru. O Paneerselvam who urged me first to take charge as the GS (general secretary) of AIADMK. It was Thiru.O. Paneerselvam who insisted first, that I become the Chief Minister of the State.”
Chinnamma all set to become the Next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 5, 2017
Sources said Panneerselvam may be offered the post of deputy chief minister.
Sunday morning began on a hectic note for the AIADMK MLAs, who were asked to attend an emergency legislative party meeting at Poes Gardens where Sasikala now resides. The CM and his ministers too were present for the meeting with the general secretary ahead of the crucial legislative party meet.
Honourable CM Thiru.O.Panneerselvam proposed the name of Chinnamma as the leader of AIADMK Legislature Party Leader.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 5, 2017
For the formalities, the scene shifted to AIADMK headquarters at Royapetta where Panneerselvam announced his desire to step down and requested Chinnamma, as Sasikala is referred to by her admirers and followers, to take over as CM. There were only feeble voices of dissent, from a few ministers and MLAs who pointed out that OPS was doing a good job.
Sasikala, who is not a member of the assembly, will have to become a member within six months. Party sources are indicating that she might contest from Madurai region, but the exact constituency is yet to be finalised.
The opposition DMK has slammed the AIADMK for choosing Sasikala as CM. DMK’s working president MK Stalin, “The people have not voted for anyone from Jayalalithaa’s household to become the chief minister. The DMK will move the peoples’ court,” he said.
“Sasikala is facing a legal hurdle. If she is convicted there will be another turmoil for Tamil Nadu. Panneerselvam is doing a good job as the chief minister, then why change him? It is a dark day for democracy in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Karti P Chidambaram, Congress leader and son of former union finance minister P Chidambaram, tweeted, that “it is a shame for Tamil Nadu”. He also demanded the dissolution of the assembly.
BJP state unit chief Tamilsai Soundarrajan too questioned the hurry for the change as well as the change itself. She said Panneerselvam was doing a good job. “It is not people’s choice,” she said commenting on Sasikala’s election as chief minister designate.
The haste for the leadership change in AIADMK was explained by a political analyst that Panneerselvam was becoming popular as well as accessible to the people. It was perhaps feared that he might outgrow his stature if allowed to continue for a longer duration.