Chaiwallah to CM ..Pannerselvam to succeed Jaya

New Delhi: O Pannerselvan will be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. On Monday he was elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party. Here's a look at his personal life and political journey.

Personal Life

*O Pannerselvam belongs to Thevar caste. He the first man of his caste to have a successful, high profile political career.

*He was named  Pechimuthi when he was born, which was later changed to Panneerselvam because an elderly person in the family had the same name.

*He was the first of Ottkara Thevar’s eight children. Thevar, a farmer, and his wife, Pazhaniamma, settled in Periyakulam, Theni after looking for fertile land.

*Ottkara Thevar came to be a generous money-lender, especially with the Muslims of Periyakulam, who still feel indebted to Thevar.

*This goodwill automatically passed to Panneerselvam, who expanded the family’s wealth in the 70s and 80s. He also expanded the family business by opening a dairy farm.

*When his father passed away in the mid-80s, one brother received the tea stall and another, the dairy farm as inheritance. By then, OPS was fascinated by cine star MGR and his political party, AIADMK and joined politics full-time.

Political Journey

*In the 1970s, he set up a tea-stall called PV Canteen in Theni, which he later handed over to his brother in the 80s, who renamed it Rosie Canteen.

*He then joined politics and rose in the AIADMK ranks. Since 2001, he has held an important rank in every cabinet of Jayalalithaa’s, usually Finance and other key departments such as Public Works or Prohibition and Excise.

*Sources close to him say that OPS only ever wanted one dream to come true: to become the chairman of the Periyakulam Municipality. He achieved this dream in 1996 and since then has viewed all cabinet positions and even being the CM as bonus gifts with God’s grace.

*In 1987, when his beloved leader MGR died and AIADMK split, OPS was momentarily caught on the wrong side of the fence supporting MGR’s wife, Janaki Ramachandran. When it became clear that Jayalalithaa was to succeed as the next leader, he made his amends and devoted himself to her.

*He served as Chairman of Periyakulam Municipality until 2001, when he was elected to the State Assembly and made Revenue Minister by Jayalalithaa. (News24Bureau)