Putting all speculations to rest, AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala’s loyalist Edapaddi K Palanisami was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil nadu, ending the nearly 10-day political turmoil in the state which began with caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam’s open revolt against the AIADMK general secretary. Palaniswami is the third person to occupy the top post in the last nine months. Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao administered the oath of office to 63-year-old Palaniswami, who is a party veteran from western Tamil Nadu. However, Rao had asked Palanisami to seek the vote of confidence in the Assembly within 15 days.
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The decision of Raj Bhavan to administer the oath of Palanisami left O Panneerselvam camp deeply disappointed. Known to be a grassroots leader, 63-year-old Palanisami has seen stready growth in the party spanning 40 years. Right after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict convicting Sasikala in the Disproportionate Assets case on February 14, numerous names were considered by the general secretary before an official meeting was convened to elect the Legislature Party Leader.
Palanisami’s first notable jump came when he was handed over the additional Public Works portfolio by Jayalalithaa after the May 2016 Assembly election aside from Minor Ports and Highways. One of the crucial factor that worked in Palanisami’s favour was his unflinching loyalty towards Sasikala after O Panneerselvam revolted. Sengottaiyan, who had initially steered clear of rumours, could not eventually emerge victorious.
Among the contenders for the chief minister’s post was K A Sengottaiyan. He was appointed to the key post of party presidium chairman after veteran E Madusudhanan switched over to the O Panneerselvam camp. Eventually, Sasikala narrowed down on Palanisami despite the fact that he was technically third in hierarchy in the O Panneerselvam Cabinet after Forest Minister, Dindigul C Srinivasan.
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Palaniswami is the third AIADMK leader to be sworn-in as Chief Minister in the last nine months. Former AIDMK supremo and chief minister Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had propelled the party to a successive term in office in the state in the May 2016 Assembly polls. She, however, continued serving the post despite her 74-day ordeal for life.
After his swearing-in ceremony earlier today, Palaniswami exuded said he will prove his majority in the Assembly and ensure that “the government of Amma (Jayalalithaa) will continue.” In his first media interaction, he said, “I wish to say that Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) government will continue by me proving majority in the Assembly.” Congratulatory messages soon poured in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Palaniswami to congratulate him. He took to Twitter and said, “Spoke to Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami & congratulated him on taking over as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.”
DMK Working President M K Stalin too greeted him, but irging him to not ‘get operated remotely’ from bengaluru. in aveiled reference to Sasikala. He added that Palanisami “should not seek consultations from Bengaluru prison,” and see that the oath of office and secrecy he has taken today, according to the Constitution, is not infringed upon.
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Meanwhile, there were few tense moments that played out in front of O Panneerselvam’s residence this evening when a minor scuffle broke out between his supporters and those of Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam. According to reports, a policeman and a supporter of Panneerselvam were injured in stone pelting. Subsequently, the police was able to bring the situation under control as they removed the supporters of either side from the vicinity.
In the meantime, Panneersevlam said his fight will continue against Sasikala and her family till the time Jayalalithaa’s regime is restored. In a statement to the media, he said, “Let us all together stop the party and government from going into the hands of a single family again. Let us form a people’s government again in sync with the aspirations of people and till then this struggle will continue,” adding that “till such time Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’s regime is restored, our struggle (Dharma Yudh) will continue.”