Chennai: Jayalalithaa loyalist and Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam was on Sunday chosen to be the next chief minister after the AIADMK supremo was convicted and sent to jail for four years in a corruption case.
63-year-old Panneerselvam, who was chosen by J Jayalalithaa to fill her shoes in a similar situation in 2001, was unanimously elected as leader of AIADMK Legislature Party here, a day after her conviction and sentencing in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
Described as "Mr Faithful", Panneerselvam belongs to the dominant Mudukulathor community and is a trusted lieutenant of Jayalalithaa.
The ruling party MLAs will meet Governor K Rosaiah to communicate him the decision, party sources said here.
The name of Panneerselvam was understood to have communicated by Jayalalithaa in the court itself after the verdict was pronounced yesterday. She also had a long conversation with him in the court before she was lodged in Bangalore jail.
Panneerselvam was handpicked by Jayalalithaa in 2001 when Supreme Court struck down her appointment as Chief Minister by the then Governor Fathima Beevi following her conviction in TANSI land case.
The soft spoken and suave leader literally functioned as "interm-chief minister" for about six months and duly vacated the post after Jayalalithaa was acquitted in the case.
Panneerselvam, who had been camping in Bangalore since yesterday when Jayalalithaa travelled there for the verdict in the disproportionate asset case, returned to the city today to take up the new responsibility as per her direction.