TN’s mandate for Jaya, not members of her household: Stalin reacts to Sasikala as CM rumours

The DMK working president’s comment comes hours ahead of a crucial AIADMK meeting.
TN’s mandate for Jaya, not members of her household: Stalin reacts to Sasikala as CM rumours
TN’s mandate for Jaya, not members of her household: Stalin reacts to Sasikala as CM rumours
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DMK Working President MK Stalin has reacted caustically to the rising rumours that AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala may soon ascend to the post of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Speaking to PTI, Stalin said that the people had given their mandate in May 2016 for Jayalalithaa, and not any member of her household, to be Chief Minister.

“The people voted for a government to be headed by Ms Jayalalithaa in May 2016, and not for one to be run by Mr. O Panneerselvam or any other person from Ms Jayalalithaa's household,” Stalin is quoted as saying.

He also added that the current government did not have the explicit legitimacy of being elected by the people, and expressed concerns that any divisions within the AIADMK after late CM Jayalalithaa’s death should not affect the state’s administration.

Ahead of Sunday’s meeting of AIADMK MLAs, furious speculation began over the possibility of Sasikala taking over as Chief Minister. Adding to this speculation was the fact that just days earlier, three top bureaucrats of the state, Sheela Balakrishnan, KN Venkataramanan and Ramalingam, were shown the door.

All three officers were close supporters of Jayalalithaa, and highly trusted advisors of the late Chief Minister, and it has been said that they had moved into the O Panneerselvam camp, and were not allied with the Mannargudi family.

Speculation of Sasikala taking over as Chief Minister has been going on almost since the day after Jayalalithaa’s death, with a number of high party functionaries calling for her to take the plunge at various points in the last two months.

In the first week of January, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK Propaganda Secretary M Thambidurai said, “Respected Chinnamma has the intelligence, capacity and love for the people, love for the party workers and care for the party cadres, as Puratchi Thalaivi Hon'ble Amma had; and it is my strong belief that it is very important that Respected Chinnamma has to shoulder the responsibility of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to take forward the party and to carry on the governance of Tamil Nadu, for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu.”

In January, however, Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan had said that there was no need for current Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to step down from the post. "As Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam is carrying forward the good governance of AIADMK. We (the party) have no necessity or rush to change the leadership. Such issues can only be discussed by the party's high command. As an observer, I request media not to create controversy," he reportedly said. 

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