CHENNAI: Who will be Tamil Nadu's new chief minister? This is being debated animatedly in the state following the conviction of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in a corruption case.
After being sentenced to four years in prison, Jayalalithaa loses her Tamil Nadu assembly membership and the chief minister's post. The Bangalore court also fined her Rs.100 crore.
So, who will now head the AIADMK government in her absence? In any case, this is not the first time such a question has cropped up.
In 2001, Jayalalithaa stepped down as chief minister following a Supreme Court verdict which held that she cannot hold the office after being convicted for criminal offences.
The actor-turned-politician made O. Panneerselvam, a senior minister in her government, the chief minister.
In 2002, Jayalalithaa again became the chief minister after being acquitted by the Madras High Court. She was later elected from Andipatti constituency.
AIADMK leaders do not rule out re-run of such an arrangement.
The names of a couple of ministers are doing the rounds -- as possible successor to Jayalalithaa.
There is also talk of a non-politician being given the post till Jayalalithaa gets free from various legal tangles.
Anyone who is not a member of the Tamil Nadu assembly will have to get elected within six months, if he or she is made the chief minister.