In what was already expected, AIADMK’s Chinnamma Sasikala Natarajan on Sunday decided become the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister filling the void created by the death of J. Jayalalithaa in December.
DMK chief Stalin said the decision was not in true spirit of the poll outcome last year that went in favour of AIADMK led by J.Jayalalithaa and not Sasikala. “People of Tamil Nadu did not vote for anyone from Jayalalithaa’s household to become CM,” he said immediately after the announcement.
After the meeting of AIADMK party on Sunday in Chennai, AIADMK confirmed the change of guard dismissing the criticism from DMK about her inexperience. It said Chinnamma knows how to run the party. Party spokesperson CR Saraswathi said that an official announcement will be made soon.
Sasikala was elected the chief of AIADMK’s legislature party, ending speculation that she would remain in periphery and run the government from Poes Garden. With Panneerselvam resigning in the afternoon, she may be sworn in on Monday.
Soon after the meeting, Sasikala emerged from the meeting room and waved at her supporters outside. The 61-year-old Chinnamma (mother’s younger sister), as she is known, will have to enter the assembly as an MLA now.
Significantly, Sheela Balakrishnan, who was political adviser to J.Jayalalithaa after she retired as chief secretary in 2014, was shunted out of the post though she was known to be close to both Jayalalithaa and Sasikala.
In a series of Twitter messages, AIADMK said: “Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader.” In another message, it said: “Honourable CM Thiru.O.Panneerselvam proposed the name of Chinnamma as the leader of AIADMK Legislature Party Leader.”