On Tuesday, OPS was told to take charge of the portfolios held by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa who is currently in hospital.
It is for the third time that OPS has been handed out the mantle. He took over as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa had to step down in the Tansi case in 2001. He was again made the CM when Jayalalithaa was convicted in 2014 in connection to the disproportionate assets case.
When Jayalalithaa was admitted in the hospital, there was already talk as to who would be in charge. Considering the events of last March, Panneerselvam was considered to be the last choice.
There was a falling out between Jayalalithaa and OPS as there were allegations that his family had amassed wealth when he was the CM in 2014.
Why is OPS the natural choice?
Even in the past there has been talk about OPS falling out with Jayalalithaa. However, he is always the choice to fill in for Jayalalithaa. Political observers say that he is a man with no ego. He was quick to apologise not once but several times and each time he was pulled up by Jayalalithaa.
In March, when there was a falling out, many had said that OPS would be shunted out of the ministry. While Jayalalithaa was quick to act against Natham Vishwanathan and Palaniappan, she did not take similar action against OPS.
However, this move by Jayalalithaa did not surprise anyone. They said it was on expected lines.
OPS has made his loyalties to the leadership well known. He knows where to draw the line. He never sat on the chair where Jayalalithaa would sit as the Chief Minister.
Moreover the seat where Jayalalithaa would sit in the assembly too was not occupied by OPS. Even while presenting the budget as the Finance Minister, he made sure that the budget box had a photograph of Jayalalithaa. In 2014, when he took oath as the CM, he did so with tears in his eyes.
With OPS, Jayalalithaa could also be confident that here was a man who would not try and usurp her in anyway.
He is a very shy person and his loyalties remain with Jayalalithaa. Every decision he would take would be in consultation with her.
The bureaucracy too does not have any problems with him as he is not known to interfere too much and hand out orders. These are the various factors that OPS a natural choice when Jayalalithaa is unable to occupy the chair of CM.