Jayalalithaa’s long-time friend and close aide VK Sasikala on Sunday unanimously elected legislative party chief and will become the third woman chief minister of Tamil Nadu. This is her remarkable rise who haven’t fought any election. The swearing-in ceremony may be held on Thursday.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam proposed her name. He said, “I resign. We elect Chinnamma (Sasikala) unanimously the legislature party leader.”
All the 134 MLAs signed the resolution. They all backed Sasikala for taking over the CM post. Panneerselvam tendered his resignation letter to governor C Vidyasagar Rao. In a letter, he said, “Accept my resignation and relieve the council of ministers appointed by me on December 6.” He then thanked PM Narendra Modi and the governor for their support and cooperation during his term as CM.
Earlier, Panneerselvam and other ministers met Sasikala at the Poes Garden residence. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss government’s activities and how to celebrate Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary on February 24.
Sometimes later, the MLAs met at the party headquarters and elected her as CM. She was greeted with the chorus of “Chinnamma Vazhga” (Long Live Chinnamma).
In her four-minute speech, Chinnamma said, “I accept your decision that one person alone should be the general secretary of the party and chief minister of Tamil Nadu. I would realise the dreams of Amma. This government will work for the people in the way shown by Amma.”
She expressed her gratefulness to the elected representatives and party workers for “shattering the dreams of rivals who wanted to see the party split.” Sasikala also praised Panneerselvam, said whenever the party faced tough times he always stood loyally beside the party. She said he was the one who first convinced her to take over the post.
When the question raised why Sasikala waited so many days after the death of Jayalalithaa on December 5 to take over the rein the sources said she was mourning.
On the other side, the opposition party DMK questioned on her credibility as a successor to Jayalalithaa. DMK’s MK Stalin tweeted, “The people of Tamil Nadu did not vote for anyone from Jayalalithaa’s household to become CM.”
Sasikala Pushpa opposed the decision
Expelled AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Pushpa opposed the decision. She claimed VK Sasikala had a criminal background. She in a letter to PM Modi and Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao said, “It is condemnable to nominate or invite Sasikala Natarajan to be a Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu due to her criminal background. All criminal cases are pending and (she is) convicted.”
The trial court in Bengaluru convicted Jayalalithaa and Saskala in a disproportionate assets case. The Karnataka High Court had set aside the conviction.
Pushpa also claimed Sasikala had not done any basic work to the party. She alleged, “The then Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) not even proposed her (Sasikala) as a candidate when she was in hospital. When she will be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, there would be law and order problems.”
The expelled MP alleged that the election of Sasikala as the AIADMK General Secretary was not done as per procedure and she recently filed a complaint with the Election Commission.