Jayalalithaa’s Loyalist Panneerselvam To Be Her Successor

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Chennai: With their Chief Minister in hospital, all the MLAs of the ruling AIADMK have been called inside Chennai’s Apollo Hospital one by one to sign a statement that says ailing J Jayalalithaa’s trusted lieutenant OP Panneerselvam will be her successor.

Sources have told India Today that the MLAs have been called to the hospital, where Jayalalithaa is in the ICU following a cardiac arrest, to sign the declaration that resolves at least one uncertainty in case of any unfortunate development, i.e. who will be the next Tamil Nadu Chief Minister?

“We have been asked to wait till further information,” an AIADMK legislator who did not want to be identified by name told news agency IANS from the hospital. The legislators have assembled inside a hall in the Apollo Hospital complex.

Jayalalithaa’s life hangs in the balance after the cardiac arrest on Sunday night. The hospital, contradicting her party’s earlier assurance, today said she is in a “very critical condition” and on life support in the ICU.

Jayalalithaa’s ailment has drawn large crowds to the hospital where doctors were fighting to save the hugely popular actor-turned-politician, called Amma by her supporters.

Jaya, a reclusive leader, has run her party with an iron hand with no clear line of succession to govern Tamil Nadu. During her latest illness, her picture was put in a chair at the head of the table at state cabinet meetings.

Panneerselvam has stood in for Jayalalithaa in the past, but he has repeatedly made it clear he is not replacing her and pointedly refused to sit in her chair at cabinet meetings.

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