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VK Sasikala, Chief Minister To Be Or Not To Be? Governor Not On Board


VK Sasikala, the long-time friend of J Jayalalithaa chosen by Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK to take over as Chief Minister, will not be sworn in today. Or Tomorrow. Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who is to administer the oath of office, is in Mumbai and has cancelled all his plans in Tamil Nadu.

He is against a "hasty swearing-in", say sources.

The Governor is consulting legal experts on whether Ms Sasikala, who has never won any election and is politically inexperienced, can become Chief Minister at this time, when an important court verdict is expected in a corruption case against her.

The Supreme Court has been petitioned to stop Ms Sasikala taking office till it decides whether the 61-year-old is guilty of conspiring with Ms Jayalalithaa to accumulate vast amounts of wealth far exceeding their known sources of income in the early 90s. In 2014, Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala were both arrested and jailed in Bengaluru. Their acquittal was challenged in the Supreme Court by Karnataka.

The Supreme Court has said it is ready to announce its decision next week.

Mr Rao, sources say, has kept in mind a parallel in 2001 when Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister but had to resign because of corruption charges.

NDTV has learnt that the Governor, who attended the wedding reception of Union Minister Prakash Javadekar's son in Delhi, had a one-on-one meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The central government is believed to be concerned about the political developments in Tamil Nadu. Public unease over Ms Sasikala's promotion has been reflected on social media in viral hashtags and memes.

While Tamil Nadu's ruling party is preparing for the oath ceremony of its "Chinamma"- the name by which Ms Sasikala is known in relation to "Amma" or Jayalalithaa - there has been an upsurge in angry reactions to the woman who has never had a public role and always stayed in the shadows as Jayalalithaa's companion.

Ms Sasikala emerged in the forefront after Ms Jayalalithaa died in office in December. She took all crucial decisions when the former Chief Minister was in hospital.  On Sunday, the AIADMK decided that Ms Sasikala will not just head the party but also the government - a convention followed when Ms Jayalalithaa headed the party. O Panneerselvam, who always filled in for Jayalalithaa when she confronted court cases and who took over after her death, has resigned.