Updated: February 18, 2017 11:15:09 am
Ending all speculations, V K Sasikala loyalist Edappadi K Palanisami was on Thursday sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The oath was administered at Raj Bhawan by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao who invited the Sasikala faction to form the government, leaving O Panneerselvam camp disappointed. The new cabinet will have 31 ministers. All of them took oath at the swearing-in ceremony.
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All the Cabinet Ministers under caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam, barring education minister K Pandiarajan who switched loyalties, have been retained by Palanisami’s. And most of the portfolios under Panneerselvam have been retained by Palanisami. Senior AIADMK leaders Dindigul Srinivasan and party presidium chairman Sengottaiyan will be number 2 and 3 in the soon to be formed government.
After Sasikala was sent to jail following her conviction in the disproportionate asset case by the Supreme Court, his loyalist Palanisami met the governor with the list of AIADMK MLAs supporting him. Ending the 10-day impasse over government formation, Rao asked Palaniswami, the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader, to form his ministry at the earliest and seek a vote of confidence in the assembly within 15 days.
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“The Governor has today appointed Edappadi K Palaniwami, Party Headquarters Secretary of AIADMK as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the ministry at the earliest,” a Raj Bhavan release said.
The Governor’s invitation came “in acceptance” of the letter submitted by Palaniswami on February 14, saying he had been elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in a meeting of its MLAs that day.
Palanisami is the third AIADMK leader to be sworn-in as Chief Minister in the last nine months. AIDMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had powered the party to a rare successive term in office in the state in the May, 2016 Assembly Polls. She continued in the post through her grim 74-day battle for life.
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Within hours of her death on December 5, Panneerselvam, who had filled in for Jayalalithaa twice in the past when she had to go to jail in corruption cases, was sworn-in as Chief Minister. He later stepped down, paving the way for Sasikala, who was already chosen AIADMK general secretary, to be elected its legislature party leader on February five.
However, the usually reticent Man Friday of Jayalalithaa rose in rebellion against Sasikala two days later, claiming he was coerced into resigning. He even expressed willingness to become Chief Minister again if the people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK workers so desired. His belligerence plunged the state into a political crisis.
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