India

India's Tamil Nadu gets new chief minister E Palaniswami

  • 16 February 2017
  • From the section India
Edapaddi Palanaswami Image copyright DIPR

The south Indian state of Tamil Nadu is to get a new chief minister, after a political stand-off that plunged the government into crisis.

Edapaddi Palaniswami, who was nominated for the post by late chief minister Jayalalitha's aide Sasikala Natarajan, will be sworn in this evening.

Sasikala, who only uses one name, was nominated as chief minister by the state's ruling party.

However her conviction in a corruption case means she cannot hold office.

She had to surrender to authorities to serve a four-year jail term on Wednesday, but appointed Mr Palaniswami before she left.

He met State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday morning, with proof that he had the support of a majority of lawmakers.

Mr Rao agreed to appoint him as chief minister on condition that he proves his majority in the state assembly within 15 days.


Analysis: Thirumalai Manivannan, Editor, BBC Tamil

Sasikala Natarajan may have been thwarted by the judiciary, but the jailed general secretary of the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu appears to be on a stronger wicket for now at least.

She has successfully managed to get her confidante, Edapaddi Palaniswami, into power, two days after the Supreme Court convicted her in a corruption case dating back to the 90's.

With the decision of the state governor - who had been delaying choosing the next chief minister - to appoint Mr Palaniswami as chief minister, Sasikala has the last laugh from her prison cell in Bangalore.

Mr Palaniswami is her trusted man, at least for the moment. He may be able to gather his own clout and emerge as an independent leader, but as of now that is only a distant possibility.

O Panneerselvam, who was sworn in as caretaker chief minister after the death of Jayalalitha in December, was vacillating between rebellion and loyalty to Sasikala.

He chose to rebel in theatrical fashion, conducting a 40-minute meditation at Jayalalitha's memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai (Madras) before declaring that he was pressured to resign. But his rebellion came rather late in the day. He could never recover the ground he had lost.


Sasikala's elevation by the party had been questioned by acting chief minister O Panneerselvam, who said he had been "forced" to resign to make way for her.

Her candidacy for the top job had been questioned, since she has never been elected to public office.

Sasikala's role was always that of aide and confidante - she had never been given any formal role by Jayalalitha in the party or the state government.

But analysts say her proximity to power allowed her and her extended family to wield huge influence.