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It's official! Sasikala to be Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

V K Sasikala, shadow of Jayalalithaa for nearly three decades, was on Sunday set to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu as the AIADMK Legislature Party elected her as its leader, over a month after she became the party's powerful General Secretary.

She is expected to be sworn-in as the third Chief Minister of the state within two months on Tuesday.

The name of 62-year-old Sasikala as AIADMK Legislature Party leader was proposed by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at a meeting of party
MLAs at the party headquarters here.

Panneerselvam on Sunday tendered his resignation from the post citing 'personal reasons' and setting the stage for the take over of V K
Sasikala.

"Due to my personal reasons, I am tendering my resignation from the post of Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Kindly accept my resignation and
relieve the Council of Ministers of Tamil Nadu appointed by me on December 6, 2016," he said in a letter addressed to Governor CH Vidyasagar
Rao.

The MLAs unanimously elected her as their leader, enabling her to take over the reins from Panneerselvam. Soon after, 'Chinnamma' Sasikala
drove to the party headquarters where she was greeted by Panneerselvam and senior party leaders. Prior to the party meeting on a day of fast-paced developments, Panneerselvam visited the Poes Garden Residence to meet Sasikala.

"It was Panneerselvam who had first persuaded me to become the Chief Minister and General Secretary as well when Jayalalithaa passed away," Sasikala told party legislators in her acceptance speech. She said the development has come "shattering the expectation of our political opponents that there will be a split in the party after the demise of our Amma (Jayalalithaa)." Sasikala had a special word of praise for the Panneerselvam, stating "whenever the party faced tough times and whenever there were difficulties in Amma becoming the Chief Minister, it was our dear brother Panneerselvam who has been loyal."

With her elevation, which comes over a month after she took charge as AIADMK General Secretary on December 31, Sasikala carries on the
legacy of Jayalalithaa, who also held the two posts allowing her to wield complete control on the government and the party. Sasikala said it was
Panneerselvam who had for the first time urged her to become both the party General Secretary and Chief Minister after the demise of
Jayalalithaa.

"I will fulfill the dreams of Amma fully and I give my assurance that this regime will work for the people," Sasikala said with her eyes moist.
Panneerselvam was the stop gap Chief Minister twice, the first time when Jayalalithaa was unseated following a Supreme Court order in 2001 and when she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case in 2014.

When Jayalalithaa was at the helm, Sasikala was considered to yield a huge clout behind the scenes.

Senior party leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai is among those who have backed Sasikala for the Chief Minister's post.

In December last year, four state ministers had asked Sasikala to become the Chief Minister, besides AIADMK General Secretary.

Two days back, Sasikala had appointed senior leaders, including some former Ministers and a former Mayor, to key party posts.

Reacting to Sunday's development, DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin dubbed the elevation of Sasikala as against the
"wishes" of both Jayalalithaa and the expectations of the people. More reports on PG6




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