CHENNAI: AIADMK legislators re-elected J Jayalalithaa as the legislature party leader on Friday, paving the way for her return as the Tamil Nadu chief minister following her acquittal in a disproportionate assets case.
Party MLAs, including chief minister O Panneerselvam, assembled at the party headquarters in Chennai in the morning and re-elected Jayalalithaa as AIADMK legislative chief.
J Jayalalithaa has been invited by Governor K Rosaiah to be chief minister of Tamil Nadu again, eight months after she had to resign when a Bangalore court convicted her in a corruption case.
The 67-year-old is expected to be sworn in with her council of ministers at about 11 am tomorrow.
In swift activity early on Friday morning, O Panneerselvam resigned as chief minister, soon after 144 of the AIADMK’s 150 lawmakers met at the party headquarters in Chennai to unanimously elect Ms Jayalalithaa as the leader of the legislature party. Ms Jayalalithaa was not at the meeting.
Mr Panneerselvam drove over to Ms Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence, before meeting the Governor, who accepted his resignation.Mr Rosaiah then invited Ms Jayalalithaa to form government “at the earliest,” and has asked her for a list of ministers who will take oath with her.
After the MLAs met, a beaming Cooperative Minister Sellur K Raju said amid celebrations at the party office, “This is the happiest day of our life.”Ms Jayalalithaa, who is known as “Amma” or “mother,” will this afternoon make her first appearance in public after her acquittal by the Karnataka High Court earlier this month. She will garland the statues of AIADMK leaders, including founder MG Ramachandran.
She will also meet the Governor this afternoon.Ms Jayalalithaa was in the middle of her third term as chief minister when she was sent to jail in September last year. Forced to resign, she picked O Panneerselvam, a man who has for years demonstrated unwavering loyalty, to take her place.
Mr Panneerselvam had wept through the swearing-in ceremony and made it clear through the last eight months that he saw himself as only a stand-in for his party chief.On May 11, Ms Jayalalithaa was found not guilty of illicitly amassing wealth adding up to nearly Rs. 50 crore by the Karnataka High Court. She must win a state assembly seat within six months of taking over as Chief Minister.
AIADMK party general secretary Jayalalithaa, fresh from her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case, will make her first public appearance after 217 days in Chennai today.
Later in the day, Jayalalithaa is expected to appear in public for the first time after her acquittal and garland statues of AIADMK leaders, including mentor and party founder MG Ramachandran, DMK founder CN Annadurai and DK leader Periyar EV Ramasamy.
She will visit Raj Bhavan to call on governor K Rosiah and stake claim to form a government. Party sources indicate that she could be sworn in as the chief minister on Friday or on Saturday.