Jayalalitha Swears In As Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister

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Chennai: Thousands of supporters lined the route as Jayalalithaa, along with an impressive convoy, headed to the venue in Tamil Nadu where she was sworn in as chief minister after a historic victory last week. The supporters cheered, danced and showered her car with rose petals.

After Ms Jayalaithaa took oath, 28 ministers – 13 of them new faces – were also sworn in in groups. The all Among those who had accepted her invitation to attend is MK Stalin of arch political rival, the DMK.

The oath ceremony, Ms Jayalalithaa’s sixth, was held at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium in Chennai. She made history last week by winning a second consecutive term in a state that had alternately voted her party and arch rival DMK to power for three decades.

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O Paneerselvam, avowed Jayalalithaa loyalist and the man who served as chief minister in the months that the AIADMK chief was in jail on corruption charges, will reportedly continue to be the state’s finance minister. Ms Jayalalithaa, 68, will retain important portfolios like police, home and general administration.

On Monday last, Tamil Nadu returned Ms Jayalalithaa to power, but with a narrower margin of victory than five years ago. Her AIADMK has won 134 of the state’s 234 seats, while the DMK, which was virtually wiped out in 2011, has managed to win 89 seats. Its pre-poll partner the Congress has won 8.

The DMK’s M Karunanidhi has pointed out that the difference between the vote share of his coalition and winner AIADMK is only a little over one per cent – 41.6 for Jayalalithaa’s party and 40.2 for DMK plus – and has delivered a warning by saying that a much more muscular DMK will function as a “constructive opposition” in the state assembly.

While the wheelchair-bound, 93-year-old Mr Karunanidhi will skip today’s oath ceremony, his son and deputy MK Stalin will attend.

Union parliamentary minister M Venkaiah Naidu will represent the Centre.

Ms Jayalalithaa had two years ago also swept the national election in Tamil Nadu winning 37 of the state’s 40 seats and her AIADMK is the third largest party in the Lok Sabha after the ruling BJP and the Congress. The BJP-led Narendra Modi government counts on the support of the AIADMK to push legislation through, especially in the Rajya Sabha or upper house where it is in a minority.