What Is Going on?
V.K. Sasikala, a close aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa, and O. Panneerselvam, an old party hand, are engaged in a war of attrition over the political legacy of their late leader.
Soon after Ms. Jayalalithaa’s death, Ms. Sasikala became general secretary of her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, while Mr. Panneerselvam took up the role of chief minister.
On Sunday, the party announced Ms. Sasikala would soon take his place as chief minister, after she was chosen as the party’s leader at the state assembly during a meeting of party members, which Mr. Panneerselvam attended. Later the same day, Mr. Panneerselvam resigned from his post as chief minister citing “personal reasons.” Critics said Ms. Sasikala was unqualified for the chief minister post since she had no previous experience in government and was unelected.
On Tuesday evening, local media spotted Mr. Panneerselvam at the burial site of Ms. Jayalalithaa, meditating with his eyes closed and walking around her grave site. According to local media reports, he said he was forced to resign from the post and would be willing to retract his decision if people wanted. He said he was speaking up because the “soul” of the late Ms. Jayalalithaa had asked him to do so.
Ms. Sasikala on Wednesday blamed opposition forces for Mr. Panneerselvam’s “revolt.” Both leaders say they have enough support from party members to drum up a majority in the state assembly to form a government.