Chennai, 23 May 2015. Ending more than seven months of administrative uncertainty in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa was sworn in the chief minister at a glittering ceremony in the centenary auditorium of University of Madras on Saturday at 11.05am.
In attendance were industry heads and film stars, but what indicated the political resurgence of Jayalalithaa was the presence of BJP leaders Pon Radhakrishnan and L Ganesan, among others.
Jayalalithaa, 67, now the 29th chief minister of Tamil Nadu, now matches the record with DMK leader M Karunanidhi of being CM five times, though the AIADMK leader did it twice after she was forced to resign from the post following court verdicts that disqualified her.
The much-awaited event began at 11am. Jayalalithaa and her 28-member cabinet took the oath of office and secrecy in Tamil and in the name of God. Her trusted lieutenant and outgoing chief minister O Panneerselvam took the oath after her, followed by Natham Viswanathan, R Vaithialingam and Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Senior leaders P Mohan, B Valarmathi and P Palaniappan and the rest of the cabinet continued to hold the same portfolios.
The historic auditorium was swelling with over 3,500 special invitees. Seated on the first row, among senior AIADMK leaders and special invitees was Sasikalaa who, like Jayalalithaa, was clad in a green saree.
Superstar Rajnikanth sat next to actor and All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader Sarath Kumar. Representing the industry were India Cements managing director N Srinivasan and A C Muthaiah of SPIC.
Hundreds of party men from far off places thronged the venue since morning to get a glimpse of the leader, who is returning to the state government after eight months.
Hundreds waited outside Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence since early morning. When she came out at 10.30am, women offered ‘aarti’ and showered flower petals on her vehicle. Party functionaries bowed, some prostrated on the road as her cavalcade passed.
Actor Rajinikanth, who lives in the neighbourhood, had left for the venue ahead of Jayalalithaa. Thespian Sivaji Ganesan’s sons Prabhu and Ramkumar were among the special invities.
The acquittal of AIADMK chief by Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate wealth case on May 11, had AIADMK MLAs electing Jayalalithaa as the leader of the legislature party on Friday.
Panneerselvam submitted his resignation to Governor thereafter, paving way for his party general secretary to take over the reins. He will continue to hold his previous portfolios of finance and public works department.
Huge banners hailing the AIADMK supremo dotted Wallajah Road and Kamarajar Salai, causing much inconvenience to the road-users. Not less than three giant screens have been installed in and around the campus for the cadres not to go disappointed.
The ceremony saw the presence of a galaxy of national and state political leaders, film stars and industrialists, and also conspicuous absence of the opposition parties like DMK.
The venue is guarded by huge posse of policemen and invitees are allowed after thorough checks at various points.
Jayalalithaa became chief minister of the state for the fourth time in May 2011, after a resounding victory with 151 seats in the 234-member assembly. On Friday noon, the AIADMK chief called on Governor and staked claim to form the government and submitted a list of council of ministers for appointment.
While P Chendur Pandian (who has been hospitalised for prolonged illness) was left out in the cabinet, dropping of forest minister MSM Anandan from the cabinet was not known. Highways minister Palaniswami has been given the additional portfolio of forests.