Panneerselvam who hails from Thevar community held two key portfolios of Finance and Public Works in the Jayalalithaa Government.
Undoubtedly, the stature of the 63-year-old leader, known for his unflinching devotion to Jaya, has grown over years but still he has an undaunting task ahead. Many are still in doubts whether he would be able to carry forward amma's legacy and help party to swim swiftly in time of crisis.
Task more challenging for Panneerselvam
Pannerselvam might have impressed the party high command by working as a substitute in running a proxy Government in 2001 but this time he has a rough ahead.
In 2001, Panneerselvam did not sit on Jayalalithaa’s chair at CM's office
The task has become even more challenging as the much-adored "Amma" Jayalalithaa stands disqualified as an MLA following her conviction and four-year imprisonment in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate wealth case by a Bangalore court on Saturday and faces and uncertain political future while the party has to prepare for Assembly elections in 18 months.
Loyalty not enough to run Government
In 2001, Panneerselvam was handpicked by Jaya due to his loyalty factor.
During his entire stint in 2001, he chose not to sit in Jayalalithaa's chair at the Chief Minister's Office and did not clear crucial files. But now situation is different, chances of Jaya's returning back to active politics are very few and Opposition DMK is keeping an eye on all activities in the Government. Under such situation, merely fulfilling his responsibility of a loyal servant will not work, Pannerselvam, if he really wants to save his party in upcoming Assembly elections, would have to perform.
Instead of being master's voice, Panneerselvam will have to perform
Jaya has been debarred from contesting elections for the next 10 years, and the party does not have any other able leader to hold the mantle in the next Assembly elections. Under such situation, the work done by the present regime could only act as saviour for the party. So, under such circumstances, instead of acting to his 'master's voice', Panneerselvam would have to act.
He would have to prove his skills. He would have to act as Jaya who is known for her administrative skills and acumenship. The three time Tamil Nadu Chief Minister did not allow the Modi wave to breach her fortress and won a whopping 37 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats in her State.