Ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's most trusted minister O Panneerselvam has taken charge of all portfolios held by the CM as per a Raj Bhavan statement dated October 11. Jayalalithaa has been hospitalized since September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. Doctors at Apollo Hospital, Chennai, have indicated that Jayalalithaa will need at least a few weeks more to recover.
O Panneerselvam has filled in for Jayalalithaa in earlier crunch situations - most recently when the Tamil Nadu CM was arrested two years ago in connection with a disproportionate assets case. OPS, as O Panneerselvam is called in political circles, has been assigned Jayalalithaa's eight portfolios and will also preside over Cabinet meetings.
During the 2014 stint as stand-in CM, Panneerselvam refused to use Jayalalithaa's office or the seat assigned to the chief minister in the state legislature while she was in jail. When he took oath, OPS wept in clear public view - he has remained Jaya's most trusted pointsman for more than a decade now.
“Under Clause (3) of Article 166 of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Tamil Nadu today allocated the subjects hitherto dealt by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to O Paneerselvam,” a Raj Bhavan press release said.
The portfolios of ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa have been allocated to state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam by the Governor on Tuesday. She will, however, continue as the chief minister of the state till she fully recovers. Paneerselvam will also preside over cabinet meetings and arrangement has been made as per the advice of Jayalalithaa, the statement said.
The police have so far registered 43 cases and arrested two persons in connection with posting of “malicious and false content” on the social media about the health of Jayalalithaa, 68.
"Such offences are liable to be punished with rigorous imprisonment for more than seven years”, police said.