Chennai: AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was today invited to form government by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah following the resignation of her trusted lieutenant O Panneerselvam as Chief Minister, paving the way for her return at the helm after nearly eight months.
At an early morning meeting of party MLAs, 67-year-old Jayalalithaa was unanimously elected as AIADMK Legislature Party Leader, a foreseeable event following the party supremo’s acquittal by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case.
Party Treasurer O Panneeerselvam forwarded the motion to elect her as legislature party leader which was seconded by Electricity Minister Natham R Vishwanathan, sources said, adding, it was adopted unanimously.
Minutes later, Panneerselvam announced his resignation as chief minister.
“I have resigned as Chief Minister,” he told party MLAs at the meeting.
A beaming Cooperative Minister, Sellur K Raju, later said, “This is the happiest day of our life.”
Jayalalithaa was disqualified following her conviction in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case by a trial court in Bengaluru on September 27. The Karnataka High Court had subsequently acquitted her of the charges on May 11.
In the resolution moved by him, Panneerselvam heaped encomiums on his leader, calling her “gold refined in fire” besides describing her as the ‘permanent General Secretary’ of AIADMK.
Panneerselvam was sworn-in as chief minister on September 29 last year, two days after Jayalalithaa’s conviction.
He had returned to the post for a second time after he was chosen by Jayalalithaa to be the chief minister almost under similar circumstances in 2001 in the wake of her conviction in the TANSI case.
He had resigned six months later in 2002, when she was acquitted by the apex court.
Panneerselvam submitted his resignation to Rosaiah who accepted it and invited Jayalalithaa to form the new government.
According to a Raj Bhavan statement, “The Governor of Tamil Nadu has invited Selvi (Ms) J Jayalalithaa to form the Ministry at the earliest and requested her to send the list of persons to be appointed as Ministers with portfolios.
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