Chennai: At 6.50 pm, @CMOTamilNadu, the Twitter handle maintained by close aides of O. Panneerselvam, removed V.K. Sasikala's picture and restored a photograph of the Chief Minister along with his late mentor J. Jayalalithaa.
Mr Panneerselvam seems to have decided to make public his banner of revolt against Ms Sasikala and the AIADMK two hours before he made a quiet visit to memorial of Jayalalithaa on the Marina Beach.
Around the same time, the AIADMK also sensed that all was not well between the party and the chief minister. At 6.54 pm, @AIADMKOfficial, the official Twitter handle of the ruling party, sent out a tweet that @CMOTamilNadu, now @Panneerselvam_O, was not the official handle of the Chief Minister. None understood the undercurrent in the change of profile picture and the tweet by AIADMK handle.
And the CM's visit to Marina Beach, his meditation at the Jayalalithaa’s memorial and his subsequent address to the media was well choreographed. The Twitter handle was sending out updates every now and then by even announcing that the Chief Minister will speak to the press outside Jayalalithaa memorial.
At 8.40 pm, 10 minutes before Mr Panneerselvam's arrival at the Marina Beach, the Twitter handle posted another tweet saying, "Only intention of the handle is to spread the good work of Amma`s government."
And what happened after Mr Panneerselvam's arrival at the Marina beach is history. After declaring that he would reconsider his resignation if people and cadre want him back, the Chief Minister took to Twitter again, asking people to express their views whether he should take back his resignation. The poll, the Twitter handle says, will close at 10 pm on Wednesday. And the result is anyone's guess.