Sasikala's proxy takes over as Tamil Nadu chief minister

Palanisami was elected AIADMK Legislature Party leader replacing Sasikala, shortly after the Supreme Court convicted her in the disproportionate assets case, dashing her hopes of becoming Chief Minister of the state.

Besides Palaniswami, 30 other cabinet ministers were also sworn-in.

The bench further said that so far as Jayalalithaa and Sasikala are concerned, "one is the agent for other as partners of two firms and additionally Sasikala is the attorney of Jayalalithaa and is a co-conspirator, as imputed". The fear of facing the ballot will bind the AIADMK legislators, political analysts said.

The clouds of uncertainty cleared after Governor C Vidyasagar Rao asked Edapaddi K Palaniswami to form the Tamil Nadu government.

While Panneerselvam has said Jayalalithaa never wanted Sasiakala to be her political heir, it would be hard to question Palanisamy's locus standi as he has as experienced as Panneerselvam is in the AIADMK.

Dr V Maitreyan, the AIADMK parliamentarian who is in OPS camp, challenged Sasikala's appointment as AIADMK general secretary, saying, "there is no provision of picking an interim general secretary in the party constitution".

Sasikala, 60, Elavarasi and her nephew V.K. Sudhakaran returned to the prison on Wednesday and surrendered to resume the four-year term they were sentenced to after being held guilty of corruption in the two-decades old illegal assets case. The petition filed by an advocate claimed that the chief minister should be chosen only after a floor test in the state assembly.

Wearing a crisp white shirt, Palanisamy took the oath of office along with 31 cabinet colleagues in the state capital Chennai at a ceremony beamed live nationwide. Police presence has been stepped up at the resort.

When MGR died in 1987, Palanisamy hit a jackpot by backing Jayalalithaa and opposing MGR's wife VN Janaki, when she became chief minister for a brief period in 1988 and tried to capture the AIADMK.

Meanwhile, back in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK workers and supporters distribute payassam (a rice-milk dessert) outside Golden Bay Resort, after E Palaniswami is set to take over as CM. Palaniswamy has kept for himself all major portfolios like Home, Finance, Public Works, Irrigation and Highways.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin said the 15 days given to Palaniswami to prove his majority would result in horse trading. When a similar situation happened after the death of MGR in 1987, Palanisamy had sworn his allegiance to Jayalalithaa. If she is convicted and sentenced, then she can not contest elections for the period of conviction and a further period of six years, which will virtually end her political ambitions.

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