AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, known to be an ardent loyalist of former CM J Jayalalithaa, took oath as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in the wee hours of Tuesday at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. The ceremony took place a little after 1am.
O. Panneerselvam takes oath as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.â€” AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 5, 2016
Earlier, at a meeting of MLAs of the AIADMK held at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, he was endorsed as the man who will take reins of the government.
Jayalalithaa breathed her last at 11.30pm on Monday at Apollo Hospital.
Since Apollo Hospital announced on Sunday evening that Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest, the top leadership of the AIADMK had been in a huddle over the future course of the party.
O Panneerselvam was close to Jayalalithaa and was viewed as her second-in-command, but had recently lost some of his clout. He is also however known to be close to Jayalalithaaâ€™s confidante Sasikala. He was made the chief minister in 2001 for a few months and later for a few months in 2014, following court decisions adverse to Jayalalithaa.
A reluctant chief minister, OPS even refused to occupy the CMâ€™s seat in 2001, and would instead only sit on a chair next to the CMâ€™s seat. In 2014, he sobbed as he took oath as chief minister for the second time, after Jayalalithaa was convicted of corruption charges.
Made the opposition leader after the AIADMK lost in 2006, Panneerselvam found himself in the limelight during his tenure as Finance Minister after he publicly prostrated before Jayalalithaa just before presenting the annual budget.
O Panneerselvam, born into the Maravar caste, a sub-caste of Thevars, had a humble beginning. In the late 1980s, he started PV canteen, a small tea shop in his native Theni district. OPS, who was an MGR loyalist in the 80s, later worked closely with Janaki, MGRâ€™s widow who had taken charge of the party after MGR's death in 1987.
His election strategies helped Sasikalaâ€™s nephew TTV Dhinakaran win an assembly seat in 1999, thereby bringing O Paneerselvam closer to Jayalalithaa. He soon grew in the ranks, and has been a cabinet minister in every government headed by Jayalalithaa since 2001.