Chennai: VK Sasikala, aide of the late J Jayalalithaa, was elected the AIADMK’s Legislature Party leader on Sunday, paving the way for her elevation as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, replacing O Panneerselvam.
O Panneerselvam tendered his resignation from the post citing 'personal reasons' and setting the stage for takeover of VK Sasikala.
"Due to my personal reasons, I am tendering my resignation from the post of Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Kindly accept my resignation and relieve the Council of Ministers of Tamil Nadu appointed by me on December 6, 2016," he said in a letter addressed to Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao.
At a meeting of party MLAs here, he proposed the name of Sasikala as legislature party leader. Sasikala, also called 'Chinnamma', later drove to the party headquarters where she was greeted by Panneerselvam and senior party leaders.
"It was Panneerselvam who had first persuaded me to become the chief minister and general secretary as well when Jayalalithaa passed away," Sasikala told party legislators. Prior to the meeting, Panneerselvam had arrived at the Poes Garden residence to meet Sasikala.
After being elected legislature party leader, Sasikala said the AIADMK would strive for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu.
Chinnamma all set to become the Next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 5, 2017
Earlier in the day, DMK Working President MK Stalin had opposed any such change of guard in Tamil Nadu. “The people of Tamil Nadu did not vote for anyone from Jayalalithaa’s household to become the CM,” he had said.
Ever since Jayalalithaa's death in December, there had been a clamour that Sasikala should follow the practice of both the party general secretary and the chief minister's post being vested in the same person.
Among others, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai had backed Sasikala for the Chief Minister's post.
Sasikala was appointed as General Secretary by AIADMK's top decision-making body General Council on December 29. She took charge of the post on December 31, pledging to take forward the legacy of Jayalalithaa.
(With agency inputs)