All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary VK Sasikala will take over as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister from O Panneerselvam. Sasikala was on Sunday elected the leader of the Legislature party by the MLAs. The announcement came hours after party legislators met and urged Sasikala, fondly called Chinnamma, to assume the post.

Panneerselvam announced his resignation on Twitter, adding, “Chinnamma will lead Tamil Nadu on the path shown by Puratchithalaivi Amma [former CM J Jayalalithaa].” She will be sworn in as the CM of Tamil Nadu on February 9, The Hindu reported.

Sasikala’s name for the post was proposed by Pannerselvam and other MLAs agreed to it, reported IANS. Sasikala said she had agreed to the proposal as everyone suggested that one person should hold both the posts – party general secretary and chief minister.

Sasikala said whenever the party faced tough times, it was Panneerselvam who had been loyal to it. “It was Panneerselvam who had first insisted that I become the chief minister of the state,” Sasikala said after being elected AIADMK’s Legislature Party Leader.

The development has been “shattering” for those who expected that the party will split after the demise of Jayalalithaa, she added. She said the party will continue to follow the late leader’s ideals.

The AIADMK on Twitter said, “Respected Chinnamma assures that the Tamil Nadu Government will always work towards the welfare of the people.”

Panneerselvam tendered his resignation on Sunday to Tamil Nadu Governor citing “personal reasons”. “Kindly accept my resignation and relive the council of Ministers of Tamil Nadu appointed by me on December 6, 2016,” he said in the letter.

Tamil Nadu minister KT Rajendra Balaji said a brave Tamil woman had become the chief minister. “Can’t a Tamil woman become the Chief Minister?” he said while speaking to the reporters.

However, Opposition leader MK Stalin of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said the state had voted in 2016 for Jayalalithaa, and not Sasikala, to be chief minister. “Even when Jayalalithaa was alive, she did not give any party job to Sasikala,” Stalin said hours after the AIADMK’s announcement. He added that it was Panneerselvam and not Sasikala who was given charge of the party and state every time Jayalalithaa was out of commission. ““DMK will react to the issue democratically. DMK lost the assembly election only by 1.1% vote share.”

Sasikala had recently removed Jayalalithaa’s adviser Sheela Balakrishnan as well as two other key aides and secretaries at the Chief Minister’s Office from their posts. Fifteen influential members of the AIADMK had been appointed organising secretaries of the party. According to reports, a number of officials close to Jayalalithaa were either removed or resigned from their positions.

Earlier in the day, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin had criticised the calls for Sasikala to be chief minister, saying the people of Tamil Nadu had not voted for anyone from Jayalalithaa’s “household” to be chief minister, PTI reported. “The government, in its present form, is clearly one that does not have the explicit legitimacy of having been elected by the people,” he said.

Sasikala was a longtime aide of Jayalalithaa, though her meteoric rise to the top of the party has raised many questions. The 62-year-old took over as the AIADMK chief on December 30. She has the support of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai and several other senior party leaders to take the reins of the Tamil Nadu government.