Sasikala's swearing-in delayed, Governor asks Panneerselvam to continue as caretaker CM
Governor had a one-on-one meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi.
In a change of plans, VK Sasikala, a close aide of ex-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, will not be sworn in as CM today, following delay of Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao arrival in Chennai. However, Supreme Court will today be hearing a PIL filed to stop Sasikala from becoming the CM.
According to NDTV report, Governor is taking legal opinion on whether Sasikala, who has never won any election and is politically inexperienced, can become Chief Minister at this time when an important court verdict is expected in a corruption case against her.
Furthermore, Governor is also keeping in mind a parallel to 2001 when Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister but had to resign because of a corruption case against her. Reportedly, Governor wants to wait for Supreme Court's verdict on the case, due next week.
Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on the case of corruption by Jayalalithaa and Sasikala and will announce it next week. In 2014, Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were both arrested and jailed in Bengaluru on the corruption charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the 21-year-old Rs 66-crore disproportionate assets case. Their acquittal was challenged in the Supreme Court by Karnataka.
It has been further reported that Governor, who attended the wedding reception of Union Minister Prakash Javadekar's son in Delhi, had a one-on-one meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He also consulted the government's top lawyer, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
“The Governor while accepting the resignation of O. Panneerselvam had specifically asked him to continue as caretaker Chief Minister till alternative arrangements are made. This means Panneerselvam and his ministry will continue for some more days before the Governor forms his opinion on the AIADMK Legislature Party resolution,” Deccan Chronicle quoted its sources as saying.
While the legal battle ensued in Politics of Chennai, Opposition including Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayaraman who is attracting quite a number of AIADMK cadre, said, "Sasikala taking over the party and the government is like a military coup of sorts." DMK working president M. K. Stalin said that people had voted only once last year but they would soon get a third chief minister. "O Panneerselvam will again become chief minister once the Supreme Court gives its judgment on the disproportionate assets case," he said.
In Delhi, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said, "Looking back with pride, TN CM chair was occupied by (K) Kamaraj and (CN) Anna. AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu are now moving in opposite directions. It is the right of AIADMK MLAs to elect their leader. It is the right of the people to ask if the leader deserves to be CM."
Sasikala emerged in the forefront after Jayalalithaa died in office in December. She took all crucial decisions when the former Chief Minister was hospitalised in September. She is also credited with holding the party together after her death.
On Sunday, the AIADMK decided that Sasikala will not just head the party but also the government - a convention followed when Ms Jayalalithaa headed the party. O Panneerselvam, who always filled in for Jayalalithaa when she confronted court cases and who took over after her death, has resigned.