Jayalalithaa loyalist and Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam was chosen to be the next chief minister of Tamil Nadu on Sunday after the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was convicted and sent to jail for four years in a corruption case.
63-year-old Panneerselvam, who was chosen by J Jayalalithaa to fill her shoes in a similar situation in 2001, was unanimously elected as leader of AIADMK Legislature Party, a day after her conviction and sentencing in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
Described as “Mr Faithful”, Panneerselvam belongs to the dominant Mudukulathor community and is a trusted lieutenant of Jayalalithaa.
The ruling party MLAs will meet Governor K Rosaiah to communicate him the decision, party sources said.
The name of Panneerselvam was understood to have communicated by Jayalalithaa in the court itself after the verdict was pronounced on Saturday. She also had a long conversation with him in the court before she was lodged in Bangalore jail.
Panneerselvam was handpicked by Jayalalithaa in 2001 when Supreme Court struck down her appointment as Chief Minister by the then Governor Fathima Beevi following her conviction in TANSI land case.
The soft spoken and suave leader literally functioned as “interm-chief minister” for about six months and duly vacated the post after Jayalalithaa was acquitted in the case.
Panneerselvam, who had been camping in Bangalore since yesterday when Jayalalithaa travelled there for the verdict in the disproportionate asset case, returned to the city today to take up the new responsibility as per her direction.
He was the Finance Minister in the Jayalalithaa cabinet since 2011.