CHENNAI: With Tamil Naduchief minister J Jayalalithaa having spent nearly two weeks in hospital and been advised a “longer stay” there, AIADMK functionaries are discussing putting in place a stand-in leadership to hold the reins of the government.
Among the options being considered are handing over Jayalalithaa’s portfolios to other senior ministers while she continues to remain chief minister and having an alternative chief minister for the time being, for which senior cabinet ministers Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam are being considered.
These developments happened on a day the acting governor C Vidyasagar Rao had a meeting with Palaniswami and Panneerselvam at Raj Bhavan in the evening. A Raj Bhavan statement said the governor discussed issues relating to general administration. Chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao briefed the governor about the functions being carried out on a day-to-day basis. After meeting the governor, the ministers dropped in at Apollo hospital where their cabinet colleagues had gathered.
Panneerselvam was caretaker CM on two occasions in 2001 and 2014, when Jayalalithaa had to vacate the post owing to legal impediments. Palaniswami has also been a long time party functionary and minister who had continued to remain in her good books.