A day after a special court in Bangalore unseated AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu chief minister by sentencing her to four years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case, party MLAs on Sunday elected O Panneerselvam as her successor, as she wished.
Jayalalithaa’s erstwhile cabinet colleagues – Panneerselvam, Natham R Vishwanathan, R Vaithilingam and Edappadi K Palaniswami – tried to meet her at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bangalore in the morning to apprise her of the developments that followed her imprisonment. However, prison authorities refused to permit them to meet her. They did not permit a team of officials also from Chennai, led by former chief secretary and advisor to government Sheela Balakrishnan, to meet her.
Finally, the party leaders returned to Chennai by road to take part in the MLAs’ meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon and went ahead by the brief Jayalalithaa gave them on Saturday before she was sent to jail.
The MLAs, who met at the party office, formally elected Panneerselvam as their leader. Natham R Vishwanathan proposed his name and over 150 MLAs elected him as their legislature party leader.
Panneerselvam met Governor K Rosaiah at the Raj Bhavan at 6.30pm and staked his claim to form the government. The Governor invited him to form the government, a release from the Raj Bhavan said.
The date of swearing-in ceremony was yet to be announced.