Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao has invited Edappadi Palaniswami — whom Sasikala had appointed as her successor to the post of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Legislature Party chief — to form government in the state by showing his numbers. Because the AIADMK is not entirely fragmented yet, many of the existing cabinet ministers may return to their original portfolios, and some might get a promotion.
What is already evident is that Sasikala might want to keep her hold on the government that will be running Tamil Nadu, with political observers already suspecting that Palaniswami is just a proxy who will let Chinnamma run the state. Here are a few people who are expected to be in the cabinet as Palaniswami takes oath, possibly on Thursday (February 16) evening itself:
1. Dindigul C Srinivasan: Srinivasan was a top cabinet minister when O Panneerselvam was the chief minister after the death of J Jayalalithaa. The MLA, who was the minister for forests, later replaced Panneerselvam as the AIADMK treasurer, with Sasikala effecting the change. Therefore, it may be no surprise if he joins Palaniswami as his number two.
2. Sellur Raju: He remained a staunch loyalist of Sasikala when some of his party colleagues were switching camps. This loyalty could be rewarded with Raju returning as the minister for cooperation or getting an even bigger portfolio.
3. P Thangamani: Thangamani has been one of the five people — including Dindigul Srinivasan — who have held fort within the AIADMK in the absence of Sasikala. The minister for electricity, prohibition and excise could be rewarded for it, and get a bigger portfolio, barring accidents or shock developments.
4. SP Velumani: He has been one of the five aforementioned people to have held on amid the crumbling AIADMK, providing the much-needed support to Sasikala and then Palaniswami. The minister for municipal administration, rural development and implementation of special programme could well be due for a promotion for it, and also because there will be some space at the top if other promotions take place.
5. Sasikala's relatives: Before Sasikala headed to jail, she ensured that some of her relatives — including two nephews — were re-inducted into the AIADMK. They had, along with Sasikala, been thrown out of the party by Jayalalithaa on charges of corruption and anti-party activities. Now, Sasikala might exercise her hold within the party through loyalists, but she will need her relatives in power in order to keep the reins tighter. Thus, it will come as no surprise if Sasikala's nephews end up as ministers.