The Asian Age – Sasikala Natarajan to take over as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Once sworn in, Sasikala will be the third woman CM of the state after Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa

S Thirunavukarasu

Chennai, 6 February 2017. Two months to the day that charismatic J. Jayalalithaa passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest, V K Sasikala, the former’s close aide for 30 years, was on Sunday unanimously elected AIADMK legislature party leader, replacing incumbent O. Panneerselvam.

Ms Sasikala is likely to take the oath as chief minister of Tamil Nadu on February 9.

The much-awaited meeting of the AIADMK legislature party resolved to hand over the CM’s mantle to 61-year-old Sasikala, who came into contact with the late Jayalalithaa in 1983.

Her election brings back a long-held tradition in the party by which both a single person leads both the party and the government.

Interestingly, outgoing chief minister O. Panneerselvam, who had stood in for the late Jayalalithaa twice due to court cases and was sworn in after her death on December 5, proposed Ms Sasikala’s name for the top post in the state.

Once sworn in, Ms Sasikala will be the third woman CM of the state after Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa.

“I, O. Panneerselvam, Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK treasurer, propose a resolution to elect ‘Chinamma’ as leader of the AIADMK legislature party. I propose the resolution since we all feel that the head of the party and the government should be one and the same. And I have resigned as chief minister,” he told the meeting, amid thunderous applause from the legislators.

As Mr Panneerselvam, who held discussions with Ms Sasikala at the Poes Garden residence before the crucial meeting, moved the resolution which was passed unanimously, AIADMK cadres outside hall the went into celebratory mode, bursting crackers and distributing sweets. Ms Sasikala later said it was “my dear brother” Panneerselvam who had first proposed that “I should take over as the CM and party supremo”.

“The AIADMK government will follow the principles of Amma. We will always work for the welfare of the people,” she said.

“I was not in a position to accept the request (by OPS) and I agreed to take over as party supremo only after repeated requests from the partymen. Every partyman who met me during the last two months insisted that I should take over as the CM. Left with no option, I decided to heed to the request,” she said.


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