Senior AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam took oath as the next CM of Tamil Nadu after J Jayalalithaa breathed her last at 11.30 pm on Monday. The oath taking ceremony took place at Raj Bhawan. According to reports, Panneerselvam broke down while taking the oath and kept a photograph of “Amma” in his pocket. With him, 31 other ministers also took oath. Panneerselvam has been the acting CM since Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo on September 22. Governor C Vidyasagar Rao began the ceremony with a 2 minute silence. “I express my condolences to people of Tamil Nadu, may her soul rest in peace,” Vidyasagar Rao said.
O Panneerslevam has been known by his critics to be a Jayalalithaa devotee. He was seen to be falling at Jayalalithaa’s feet during rallies and on top of stages. When he was to become the CM for the second time as Jayalalithaa was convicted, he was seen to be crying inconsolably while taking the oath. Panneerselvam had earlier worked as a tea stall owner and also as an agriculturist. He is married to P. Vijayalakshmi Naachiar and they have three children. Currently, he is elected from the Bodinayakkanur constituency in Theni district. Apart from serving TN as the CM on two occasions he also was a leader of the opposition but was replaced by Jayalalithaa. Here are some of the facts to know about Panneerselvam:
O Panneerselvam is one of Jayalalithaa’s most reliable men and had served as the CM for two times. He, like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also a tea-seller before joining politics.
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Born in Periyakulam on January 14, 1951, Panneerselvam is now 65 years of age. He belongs to the Maravar caste, a sub-caste of Thevars, which dominates as a caste in southern Tamil Nadu. A trusted lieutenant and staunch loyalist of Jayalalithaa, he faces the challenge of keeping the AIADMK together as it tries to reinvent itself without the charismatic party supremo.
The first time Panneerselvam was the CM, was from 2001 September to 2002 March. Jayalalithaa was then barred by the Supreme Court from holding any position. The second time Panneerselvam was the CM was from 2014 September to 2015 May. This was the time when Jayalalitha was accused and convicted in the disproportionated assets case.
During the DMK government in2006, O Panneerselvam served as the Leader of Opposition. He has previously held the portfolio of Finance in every AIADMK government. During the recent Jayalalithaa government, Panneerselvam also held the portfolio of Public Works Department. He has always been second most popular leader in AIADMK after Jayalalithaa and has been considered the crisis man.
Panneerselvam has prostrated before Jayalalithaa, deified her and wept for her. He also meticulously followed her orders, coordinated with bureaucrats and proved himself a mature leader. In 2011, in a further endorsement of her trust, Jayalalithaa allocated the major departments of Finance and PWD to Panneerselvam. Panneerselvam always came across as an affable man and enjoyed respect, cutting across party lines. As Leader of the House since 2011, except for a brief period when Jayalalithaa was convicted in a graft case and him being elevated as Chief Minister, Panneerselvam often handled House proceedings with deft ease, especially explaining the state’s position on financial matters as Finance Minister.
(With PTI inputs)