Sasikala convicted by Supreme court, disqualified for CM post


It is tempting for the ruling party at the Centre to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu politics and hope to come up with a catch, following Sasikala's conviction by the Supreme Court and O Panneerselvam's claim to be chief minister being contested by a Sasikala nominee.

Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao today invited AIADMK party leader Edapaddi K Palanisami amid ripe sepculations of him forming the government. Sasikala appointed Palaniswami as her proxy after she was convicted by the Supreme Court in the DA case. She has been disqualified from holding public office for 10 years of which four years will be the period of her sentence.

The two-judge Supreme Court bench "unhesitatingly" set aside the Karnataka High Court's judgment "erroneously" acquitting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others in May 2015, and upheld the conviction of the trial court, which it found to be "flawless", crushing the mounting ambitions of Sasikala in the process. "The governor will appoint the candidate who has the support of more lawmakers in Tamil Nadu assembly", Raju Ramachandran, a former additional solicitor general, told DW.

The governor will meet Panneerselvam at 8.30pm. The fissures were exposed when Pannerselvam raised the banner of revolt against the party chief on February 6 and alleged that a member of her family had indicated that everyone but Sasikala had benefitted after Jayalalithaa's death.

Sasikala's last political gambit is to install a government of her own choice and run it from prison.

After the swearing-in, Palaniswami, his cabinet and the new AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dinakaran, Sasikala's nephew, headed to the Jayalalithaa memorial on Marina Beach to pay tributes.

Sasikala had been involved in a bitter battle with acting chief minister, O Panneerselvam, who had been trying to block her ascent. Initially, Mr Panneerselvam appeared amenable to making way for Sasikala, submitting a letter of resignation and allowing his supporters within the party to back Sasikala for the chief minister's post. "Many MLAs will support only Amma's rule and not rule of a family", he said.

The current position of the Panneerselvam has once again become untenable in the roller coaster political developments of the state. Jayalalithaa herself was identified as the main accused but was spared explicit ignominy because she had passed away.

Ahead of the Supreme Court verdict, Ms Sasikala, 61, spent the night at the five-star Golden Bay Resort resort in Mahabalipuram, 80 km from Chennai, along with about 120 legislators whom she has sequestered for nearly a week.