Sasikala set to take over as Tamil Nadu chief minister, Panneerselvam resigns

WION Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Feb 05, 2017, 09.37 AM(IST)

Sasikala emerged at the balcony of the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai and flashed the victory sign soon after her appointment. Photograph:( Twitter )


O Panneerselvam, who was appointed Tamil Nadu chief minister after the death of former CM Jayalalithaa, resigned today (February 5). AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan is all set to take over as the chief minister (CM), the party announced on Twitter. Sasikala was elected the legislative party head by the AIADMK after a meeting with cabinet ministers and senior party leaders today.

Sasikala, who has no previous record of holding public office, flashed the victory sign as she emerged at the balcony of the party headquarters after being elected legislative party head. She also vowed to work for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and "follow the principles of Amma", as Jayalalithaa was fondly addressed by her supporters.

Sasikala, a close aide of Jayalalithaa and addressed as Chinnamma (little mother), said Paneerselvam had asked her to take charge as AIADMK chief after Jayalalithaa's death in December last year. 








Sasikala's name for the post of leader of AIADMK legislature party leader was also proposed by Panneerselvam, the party stated.





Media reports had earlier said Sasikala would be appointed chief minister on February 8 or 9. 

Jayalalithaa also held the posts of chief minister and party general secretary, allowing her to wield complete control on the government and the party.

When Jayalalithaa was at the helm, Sasikala was considered to hold considerable influence behind the scenes even though she did not hold any formal position in the party.

The death of Jayalalithaa, three-time chief minister, on December 5, had sparked a mass outpouring of grief across Tamil Nadu, plunging the state into political uncertainty.

DMK slams Sasikala's elevation to chief minister

"The people of Tamil Nadu did not vote for anyone from Jayalalithaa's household to become CM," opposition leader MK Stalin said on Twitter, referring to her political inexperience.



The 63-year-old leader, who was made the working president of DMK last month, is worried about divisions in the ruling AIADMK after the death of Jayalalithaa and keen that it should not affect the functioning of the administration.

 Sasikala appointed senior leaders, including some former ministers and a former Mayor, to key party posts on February 3.

Reversing the appointments made by Jayalalithaa, three top bureaucrats of the state government were also asked to resign by the Chief Minister's Office the same day.

Three bureaucrats considered close to Jayalalithaa -- Sheela Balakrishnan, KN Venkataramanan and Ramalinga -- were asked to put in their papers by Panneerselvam on Sasikala's instructions, a News Minute report claimed.

Sheela Balakrishnan was considered Jayalalithaa's "eyes and ears" and was reportedly running the government while she was hospitalised. She was also the point person between O Panneerselvam, the then Deputy Chief Minister, and Jayalalithaa

Tamil Nadu's opposition party, the DMK, has questioned the ruling party for unceremoniously dumping O Panneerselvam, Jayalalithaa's choice for temporary CM following her arrest in the disproportionate assets case.

An AIADMK member and former MP, KC Palaniswamy has also written to the Election Commission to conduct elections for the post of party general secretary again. 

The Election Commission has, meanwhile,  sought the AIADMK's response to a complaint filed by sacked leader Sasikala Pushpa against the election of Sasikala as AIADM general secretary, claiming that the election was not as per procedure.