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Sasikala to be next Tamil Nadu chief minister, Panneerselvam resigns

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam stepped down on Sunday, clearing decks for Sasikala Natarajan – the longtime companion of J Jayalalithaa, who became the party chief after her death — to take over the reins of power in the state.

After a meeting of AIADMK MLAs on Sunday, the party announced that they had elected her as Legislative party leader. The party said that her name had been put forward by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

I resigned and we elected Sasikala unanimously as leader of the party in assembly. All MLAs are in support,” said Panneerselvam.

Party members celebrate Sasikala’s elevation outside AIADMK head quarter; say “We are very happy and hope that Sasikala Natarjan becomes CM as she’ll follow Jayalalithaa’s steps.”

According to sources, Sasikala will take oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister anywhere between February 6th and 9th.

Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, who had stood in for Jayalalithaa twice earlier when she was arrested on charges of corruption, was made the Chief Minister after her death in December last year.

Ms Natarajan, 61, is not an elected member of the assembly and had never held any post in the party. Chinamma (mother’s younger sister) as she is fondly called by supporters had taken charge of the party after a lot of coaxing from the partymen.

Earlier, Panneerselvam and other ministers met Sasikala at the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa where Sasikala continues to live.

The AIADMK legislators had not been informed about the agenda of the meeting.

The ostensible purpose of the meeting was to discuss the government’s activities, issues pertaining to various constituencies and the manner in which Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary on February 24 is to be celebrated.

On Friday, Sasikala had appointed senior leaders, including some former Ministers and a former Mayor, to key party posts. Former Ministers KA Sengottaiyan, S Gokula Indira and B V Ramana, besides ex-Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy were made the AIADMK’s Organisation Secretaries. The appointments also included that of Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar to a key party post. She had also announced removal of Ambattur MLA V Alexander as AIADMK’s MGR Youth Wing Secretary.He will, however, continue as the party’s Tiruvallore (East) District Secretary, Sasikala had said in a statement.

Last month, Thambidurai had said that the leadership in both the party and governance should be with the same person, while urging Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister. He had cited the political tussle in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh to drive home his point that the control of government and party should vest with the same person.

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