The Supreme Court has held VK Sasikala, AIADMK chief, guilty of helping former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa amass illicit wealth worth over 60 crores in the 1990s and has convicted her.
Chennai: Tamil Nadu governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday appointed Edappadi K.Palanisamy of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the government at the earliest.
Jayalalithaa - the primary subject in the corruption case - together with Sasikala and two of the latter's relatives were convicted by a lower court in September 2014.
The verdict has put a big question mark over Sasikala's political career as even after serving the four-year-long sentence, she would not be able to contest elections for a period of six years. The petition filed by an advocate claimed that the chief minister should be chosen only after a floor test in the state assembly.
He was tipped for the Chief Minister's post after Jayalalithaa died but that did not happen.Hailing from Nedungulam village in Salem district, Palaniswami belongs to the Gounder community.
At the swearing-in ceremony, T.T.V. Dinakaran, the new deputy general secretary of the AIADMK and Ms Sasikala's nephew, was seated in the front row.
Police stepped up security and put up barricades outside the jail complex at Parapanna Agrahara area to prevent the ruling party's factions from crowding and causing law and order problem.
Hardly anyone outside Tamil Nadu is likely to know of Palanisamy, who is now the public works minister. Panneerselvam, whose attempt to foil Sasikala's bid to be the chief minister led to bitter fighting within the AIADMK.
But some legislators claimed they were being held hostage, and said they were backing Mr Panneerselvam.
His choice as leader of the legislative party looks natural since the idea now was to pit one Jayalalithaa loyalist with another. His conduct had come under severe criticism from the supporters of Sasikala and members of the Congress party who alleged that the Governor was acting at the behest of the BJP government at the centre, which has been looking for a toehold in Tamilnadu.
Minutes after after the apex court delivered the verdict, Sasikala went into a huddle with her MLAs to decide on the next steps.
Sasikala's conviction and the tug of war between her and Panneerselvam have heightened the political turmoil in the state.
A bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy, which said last week that the verdict will be out in few days, will pronounce the judgement at 10.30 am.