CHENNAI: A team led by Edappadi Palanisamy, handpicked by VK Sasikala as the AIADMK’s presumptive Chief Minister, met Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday evening and said it expects him to invite them today to form government in the state. The Governor later met O Panneerselvam, who too has staked claim to the top post. Ms Sasikala has reached Bengaluru, where she will spend the next four years in jail, after the Supreme Court convicted her in a corruption case stomping out her attempt to become the next Chief Minister. Prison authorities have made it clear that Ms Sasikala will merit no special privileges during her stay in jail. As she arrived in a big convoy, a few people gathered to watch, a stark contrast from 2014; thousands of AIADMK workers had gathered when she was last imprisoned along with J Jayalalithaa, the powerful matriarch of the ruling AIADMK who died while she was Chief Minister in December.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
- Mr Palanisamy has told the Governor that he has the support of 124 of the ruling party’s 134 legislators, which means a majority support in the state assembly. “We are sure the Governor would protect democracy,” said Thiru D Jayakumar, who was one of the members of the delegation that accompanied Mr Palanisamy.
- E Palanisamy was organised as the head of the AIADMK’s legislators by Ms Sasikala as she took a spree of decisions in the last 24 hours before she left Chennai, to ensure that she will call the shots from her party from within jail – a practice also exercised by J Jayalalithaa.
- Ms Sasikala’s faction is pitted against the far smaller group of O Panneerselvam, who was made Chief Minister hours after Ms Jayalalithaa died, and has refused to give up his job for either Mr Sasikala or her proxy, E Palanisamy.
- Governor Rao, who has consulted legal and constitutional experts, met both Mr Palanisamy and Mr Panneerselvam and their 10-member teams for about 30 minutes each.
- Before she left Chennai, Ms Sasikala also on Wednesday re-inducted a pair of nephews – TTV Dinakaran and S Venkatesh – into the party.
- Mr Dinakaran, who was expelled from the party by Ms Jayalalithaa in 2011 for conspiring against her, has been appointed Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK. Ms Sasikala retains the title of General Secretary, the party’s most powerful position.
- At her sprawling Chennai residence VK Sasikala asked party workers to “cooperate” with her nephew. Justifying Mr Dinakaran’s return to the party only two months after Ms Jayalalithaa died, Ms Sasikala said he has “apologised in writing and in person.”
- The verdict against Ms Sasikala sentences her to four years in prison and bars her from contesting an election for 10 years. She was found guilty of acquiring illicit wealth with Ms Jayalalithaa during the latter’s first term in office.
- She asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday if, because of her health, she could be allowed some time to present herself in Bengaluru for imprisonment. “Do you know what immediately means?” the judges responded, highlighting that they had made their decision clear in yesterday’s verdict.
- Ms Sasikala then left the house in Chennai’s Poes Garden that she cohabitated with Ms Jayalalithaa and on route stopped at the memorial to the former AIADMK chief at the famous Marina Beach. Her sister-in-law Ilavarasi, also convicted by the top court, traveled with her from Chennai to Bengaluru.