Chennai: Tamil Nadu finance minister O.Panneerselvam, who has been allocated the portfolios of chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, chaired a meeting of the state cabinet on Wednesday with a picture of the AIADMK leader on his desk.
The government released photographs of the meeting, where Panneerselvam was seen seated with the picture of Jayalalithaa placed on his desk.
This is the first cabinet meeting after Panneerselvam took over the portfolios of Jayalalithaa. As the 68-year-old Jayalalithaa continues to undergo treatment at Apollo Hospitals due to unknown health condition, a release from Raj Bhavan last week said that Paneerselvam will take charge of all the portfolios of the chief minister and will also preside over cabinet meetings. Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals on 22 September.
“Under Clause(3) of Article 166 of the constitution of India, his Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu today (11.10.2016) allocated the subjects hitherto dealt with by Hon’ble chief minister Selvi J. Jayalalithaa to Thiru. O.Pannerselvam, minister of finance, personnel & administrative reforms,” said the release from the acting governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s office.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had constantly pressed that an “interim arrangement” be made until the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo recovers.
The last cabinet meeting was chaired by Jayalalithaa on 6 July.
Earlier, Panneerselvam chaired the cabinet meeting during Jayalalithaa’s conviction in the disproportionate assets case, when he was entrusted with the responsibility of interim chief minister.
Though, there has been no official word from the government regarding the hour-long meeting, the cabinet is expected to have discussed about the ongoing Cauvery water- sharing dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and also about the appointments of special officers for the upcoming local body elections.
The leader of the opposition M.K. Stalin on Friday met with Panneerselvam and public works minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, seeking an all-party meeting and a special sitting of the legislative assembly to discuss the Cauvery water issue.