All eyes were on the cabinet meeting at Tamil Nadu on Saturday. But this time around, Amma's chair was not vacant. O Paneerselvam who was chief minister of Tamil Nadu twice in the past when Jayalalithaa was absent, had refused to occupy the seat. Instead, he placed a photograph of his beloved leader and convened the cabinet.
On Saturday, the photograph was there, but OPS occupied the seat while convening the cabinet meeting.
He had refused to take Jayalalithaa's place in Tamil Nadu assembly as recently as February 2015, when he was made CM after her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
He chose to sit on the other end of a two-seater chair, cautious not to sit in Jayalalithaa's place. Each time he chaired a meet in her absence, he ensured that her chair and place were left empty, but a picture of hers was on display.
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While Panneerselvam displayed no reservations in assuming the chief minister's chair, a photograph of Jayalalithaa was, however, placed on the table like always.
The cabinet began with a silent tribute to Jayalalithaa and Panneerselvam offering prayers to her photograph. The cabinet discussed the construction of a memorial on Marina beach in her memory.