Who will be Tamil Nadu’s new chief minister? This is being debated animatedly in the state following the conviction of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in a corruption case.
After being sentenced to four years in prison, Jayalalithaa loses her Tamil Nadu assembly membership and the chief minister’s post. The Bangalore court also fined her Rs.100 crore. So, who will now head the AIADMK government in her absence? In any case, this is not the first time such a question has cropped up.
In 2001, Jayalalithaa stepped down as chief minister following a Supreme Court verdict which held that she cannot hold the office after being convicted for criminal offences.
The actor-turned-politician made O. Panneerselvam, a senior minister in her government, the chief minister.
In 2002, Jayalalithaa again became the chief minister after being acquitted by the Madras High Court. She was later elected from Andipatti constituency.
AIADMK leaders do not rule out re-run of such an arrangement.
The names of a couple of ministers are doing the rounds — as possible successor to Jayalalithaa.
There is also talk of a non-politician being given the post till Jayalalithaa gets free from various legal tangles.
Anyone who is not a member of the Tamil Nadu assembly will have to get elected within six months, if he or she is made the chief minister.
Cadres protest across Tamil Nadu
Following the conviction of their leader, AIADMK cadres began stoning buses and forced shopkeepers to down shutters in the state.
Police beefed up security outside the residences of DMK president M. Karunanidhi, his son M.K. Stalin and senior leader K. Anbazhagan.
As soon as the court decision came, AIADMK cadres started stoning buses and forced shopkeepers to down their shutters in Kanchipuram, Trichy, Madurai and other places in the state.
Some private companies decided to close early in the evening and theatres cancelled their evening shows in Chennai.
Tension prevailed in some parts of Chennai and city bus services were halted for long routes. AIADMK cadres were also holding protests on railway lines in some places.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s house was stoned by the AIADMK activists.
Jayalalithaa was convicted in a Rs.66 crore disproportionate assets case. Following this, she is disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu assembly.
After an 18-year court battle, judge John Michael Cunha convicted 66-year-old Jayalalithaa, who is general secretary of the AIADMK.
In some places policemen pacified the AIADMK cadres who were trying to force shop owners to pull down their shutters.