Supreme Court to Deliver Verdict on Two-Decade Long Jayalalithaa DA Case

The Governor heard competing pitches on Wednesday night from within the ruling party of the state over who should be the chief minister after the conviction of AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala in connection with a 19-year old disproportionate assets case.

His choice as leader of the legislative party looks natural since the idea now was to pit one Jayalalithaa loyalist with another.

The session of the Legislative Assembly has been convened for Saturday for Palaniswamy to seek the vote trust. Governor Rao administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Palanisami and 30 of his Cabinet colleagues in a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan at 4.30 pm.

Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for Sasikala, said that the leader wanted some time to surrender as she has to manage her affairs.

Besides Jayalalithaa, against whom the proceedings will be abated due to her demise on December 5 previous year, Sasikala, and the latter's relatives, VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, were also acquitted in the assets case by the Karnataka High Court. The new chief minister will have to take a floor test in the assembly in a fortnight to prove that he enjoys support of the majority of legislators.

On the other hand, the AIADMK MLAs of Sasikala camp have been once again lodged at the Golden Bay Resort in Kuvathur.

C Vidyasagar Rao, the governor of Tamil Nadu, was responsible for picking the next chief minister but refrained from making the decision until the supreme court verdict.

While O Panneerselvam has managed to win over 10 odd MPs and some MLAs, Sasikala has been able to rally the support of an overwhelming majority of AIADMK MLAs.

Prisoner No 9435 Sasikala, who is now enjoying jail life in Bangaluru, and her amusing supporters have taken the people of Tamil Nadu for granted and considered them as permanent fools. The move was apparently aimed at projecting Palaniswami as the next chief minister since her conviction will prevent her from holding the executive post.

A farmer by profession, Palaniswami also retained the portfolios of the Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports he held in the previous government.

He joined the AIADMK in the 1980s and was a Jayalaltihaa supporter when the party split after its founder M.G. Ramachandran's death in December 1987.

However, former Minister K Pandiarajan told reporters that the unity of the party was the need of the hour and he would do whatever he could for a patch-up between the two factions.

Sasikala set off by auto from her base in Chennai to Bangalore where she will serve her four-year sentence, a day after judges found her guilty of illegally amassing assets worth US$10 million.

  • Eleanor Harrison