Tamil Nadu: State Finance Minister and J Jayalalithaa’s(Amma) close aide O Panneerselvam was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu early on Tuesday morning after the demise of Jayalalithaa at 11:30 on Monday night. Also, 31 other ministers took oath as Cabinet ministers along with Panneerselvam.
After the news of Jayalalitha’s demise, party authorities collected the opinion of all the MLAs and sources report that 135 MLAs had signed a deal to back Paneerselvam as CM. As such he was declared as the successor of Jayalalithaa.
Panneerselvam, 65, had earlier stood in twice as chief minister when Jayalalithaa had to step down and barred from contesting elections in 2001 and when she was jailed briefly in a disproportionate assets case in 2014. He was also given charge of the eight ministries she personally supervised and chaired cabinet meetings since ‘Amma’ was hospitalized. It is for the third time, that Panneerselvam has taken oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
He was sworn in around 1.15 am by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao at the Raj Bhavan. 31 ministers, all of them members of the previous Jayalalithaa cabinet, also took oath in a simultaneous swearing.
His loyalty towards Jayalalithaa was clearly visible when Panneerselvam kept a picture of Jayalalithaa on the dais before taking the oath.
However, some basic points can be highlighted for having an option to choose him as the successor to Amma:
· He entered politics in 1996 and became the chairperson of Periyakulam municipality in Theni district.
· He is AIADMK’s most powerful leader after party Supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
· He had contested Assembly elections for the first time in 2001 from Periyakulam and became the PWD minister after winning.
· He has prior experience of serving as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister in 2001-02 and in September 2014.
· He has been a minister in every AIADMK regime since 2001, holding the Finance and other important portfolios like Public Works and Prohibition and Excise.
· He has served as the leader of the AIADMK legislative party and the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly briefly, after the party lost the assembly elections in May 2006.