Exactly two hours after the two-judge bench dealt a body blow to Sasikala, AIADMK party legislators elected Palanisamy and pitched him for CM, a contingency plan the party seemed to have chalked out much in advance.
His election was understood to have been preceded by an emotional outpouring by Sasikala in front of the 100 plus legislators in the heavily protected Golden Bay Resort, which, from being the epicenter of state’s political theatre since last Wednesday, turned out to be a fortress guarding a VIP convict with police outnumbering AIADMK party cadre since midnight Monday.
Sasikala was learnt to have urged the MLAs to ‘not lose hope’ and extend their support to Palanisamy, whose name did the rounds first when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised in September last, and who had muscled out KA Sengottaiyan, who incidentally emerged out of the resort and revealed to media Edappadi’s letter asking the Governor to invite him to form government.
Later in the afternoon, the CM-designate officially divulged the information and told media persons there that the legislature party, with the full consent of Sasikala, had elected him their leader and he had also apprised the Governor of the same. Around 4 pm, Edappadi Palanisamy took a few ministers to Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form government. He returned to the resort around 7 pm where Sasikala and the MLAs remained.