Chennai: Trusted aide of J Jayalalithaa, O Panneerselvam, will take over as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The decision was taken at a meeting of AIADMK on Sunday - a day after Ms Jayalalithaa received a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case from a Bangalore court.
The AIADMK leaders are to meet Governor Konijeti Rosaiah soon and the swearing-in is likely to be held tomorrow.
This would be 63-year-old Mr Panneerselvam's second term as the chief minister. In 2000, he had been handpicked by Ms Jayalalithaa when she had to step down from the top job after being convicted in the Tansi land deal case. He was in office for six months He was in office for six months, till Ms Jayalalithaa was acquitted by a higher court.
This time too, Mr Panneerselvam's selection took place after consultations with Ms Jayalalithaa. This morning, her advisor Sheela Balakrishnan and her secretaries flew to Bangalore to meet the former chief minister in Bangalore Central Jail.(Read: What Jayalalithaa Had As First Meal in Jail)
O Panneerselvam or OPS, as he is called, belongs to the Thevar community - a key vote-bank for the party. A finance minister and number two in the Jayalalithaa cabinet, he had started life as a tea seller.
The selection of a new chief minister became necessary after Ms Jayalalithaa was indicted in an 18-year-old disproportionate case. Last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that a convicted lawmaker can't continue as Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly and shall be disqualified from office.
But the former chief minister is to move the Karnataka High Court on Monday for bail and stay on conviction. (Read: Jayalalithaa to Move Court for Bail, Stay on Conviction Tomorrow)
Till Saturday, there was intense speculation that Ms Jayalalithaa was considering several names.
Her advisor Sheela Balakrishnan, who is also a former Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, former Director General of Police R Natraj, Rajya Sabha MP and former Advocate-General Navaneedakrishnan, Visalakshi Nedunchezhian, wife of the late senior leader Nedunchezhian and former Transport Minister Senthil Balaji, were suspected to be in the running.