A release from Raj Bhavan on Tuesday said that all portfolios held by the ailing Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa were allocated to finance minister O. Panneerselvam, The Hindu reports. Panneerselvam will also preside over cabinet meetings. The arrangement was made on the advice of the chief minister and will continue until she resumes her duties, the release said.
Jayalalithaa, who has been hospitalised since September 22, will continue as the chief minister without portfolio. The 68-year-old is currently undergoing treatment for a lung infection and according to a report in India Today, has been advised by the doctors for a longer stay.
According to the release from the governor’s office in Chennai, the portfolios had been allotted to Panneerselvam under clause (3) of Article 166 of the constitution.
According to LiveMint, along with his existing portfolios, Panneerselvam will also handle public, IAS, IPS, Indian Forest Service, general administration, district revenue officers, police and home.
Panneerselvam has twice in the past stepped in as chief minister for Jayalalithaa.
The latest development came after state chief secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao, and AIADMK ministers Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palanisamy met with the governor on Friday to take a stock of the administrative affairs in Tamil Nadu.
According to Economic Times, the DMK had called for an interim chief minister to ensure that the state’s governance is not compromised in Jayalalithaa’s absence, especially during the ongoing Cauvery water dispute with Karnataka. In a statement released on Monday, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said that the state lacked a “proper direction”.
Since Jayalalithaa was hospitalised after complaints of high fever and dehydration, the Apollo Hospital in Chennai has released bulletins stating that she has been on respiratory support.
A release from the hospital on Monday said that the chief minister “is being constantly monitored by intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel” and “continues to be under treatment”.
A bulletin also said that “necessary respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy are being given,” LiveMint reports.
Jayalalithaa is currently being supervised by a UK specialist and a team of three doctors from the Delhi’s AIIMS hospital.