Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam, who has been representing the Bodinayakkanur constituency since 2011, is attempting a hat-trick from here in the April 6 assembly election.
Panneerselvam, considered as the most loyal minister of late Jayalalithaa was chosen to follow in Amma's footsteps.
When Jayalalithaa was jailed in 2014, Panneerselvam was anointed chief minister as a stop-gap arrangement.
In the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly election, AIADMK candidate Paneerselvam retained Bodinayakkanur by a margin of 15, 428 votes. He had also won the seat in the 2011 polls.
Though Panneerselvam is popular in the Bodinayakkanur constituency, this will a tough battle for him as he faces competition from his former party colleague Thanga Tamil Selvan. Though both had the confidence of former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, they are rivals. Thanga Tamil Selvan joined the opposition DMK ahead of the elections and is DMK nominee from Panneerselvam's home turf.
O Panneerselvam has earlier called Tamil Selvan a 'rajdrohi' (traitor) saying that the party he joins fades away.
Taking a dig at his opponent, Panneerselvam said, "Thanga Tamil Selvan was with AIADMK primarily. It is AIADMK that gave him positions and respect. Now he is with DMK. Earlier he was with AMMK. This itself proves he is the biggest 'rajdrohi' (traitor). Whichever party he goes to will fade away."
Meanwhile, several opinion polls are giving an edge to the rival DMK-Congress alliance for Tamil Nadu polls.
Political journey of O Panneerselvam:
Panneerselvam was born on January 14, 1951. He started his political career as a young ground level party activist for the then united DMK at booth-level. He joined the AIADMK in 1973 after MG Ramachandran split from the DMK and was among the first generation of party workers who split to found AIADMK.
From a founding member, he went on to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and held the office thrice.
He was first sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in September 2001 when the then CM Jayalalithaa was barred from holding office by the Supreme Court of India. His tenure lasted for six months, from September 21, 2001 to March 1 2002.
He was again entrusted with the responsibility of being the CM of Tamil Nadu on September 29, 2014 when Jayalalithaa was convicted in a disproportionate assets case. This time his tenure lasted till May 22, 2015.
On December 6 2016, Panneerselvam was again elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu following the death of incumbent CM Jayalalithaa.
He tendered his resignation as the head of Tamil Nadu on February 6, 2017 to the governor, who accepted it and appointed him as the caretaker Chief Minister. Eventually, he was expelled from AIADMK on February 14 in the same year and Edappadi K Palswami took over as the CM of the state.
Factions of Palswami and Panneerselvam emerged and then were merged in August 2017. Panneerselvam was made Deputy Chief Minister and was also given finance portfolio.
From March 2002 to December 2003, he was the Minister for Public Works, Prohibition and Excise. Subsequently, he was also entrusted with the Revenue department's charge from December 2003 to 2006.
Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu will be held on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
( With inputs from ANI )
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