CHENI, May 23: AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil du for the fifth time on Saturday, within a fortnight of the Kartaka High Court acquitting her in a corruption case.
Jayalalithaa, 67, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor K Rosaiah at the packed Madras University Centery Auditorium.
The governor also administered oath of office to the council of ministers in two batches. Including herself, Jayalalithaa will head a 29-member government in the 14th Tamil du assembly.
While dropping MSM And, minister for forests, and P Chendur Pandian (without any portfolio) in the O Panneerselvam cabinet, she retained all other ministers without changing their portfolios.
Jayalalithaa would, among others, look after the home and general administration departments.
Panneerselvam will continue to hold the fince and public works portfolios.
The colour green domited at the swearing-in as Jayalalithaa’s saree, the ring on her finger with a big green stone and the backdrop of the stage were all in green.
Her close aide Sasikala too wore a green saree.
It was not immediately clear why all this was in green, though it is said to be one of Jayalalithaa’s favourite colours.
The swearing-in also created an avoidable controversy after a short version of the tiol anthem was played on the occasion.
Before the ceremony, it was announced that the shorter version of the tiol anthem would be played followed by Tamizh Thai Vazhthu (Invocation to Mother Tamil).
To the surprise of many, just two lines of the tiol anthem — the first line and the last line — were played and it was followed by Tamizh Thai Vazhthu.
After all the ministers were sworn in, the full version of the tiol anthem was played.
On both the occasions, when the tiol anthem was played, people present in the auditorium stood in silence.
According to a former bureaucrat, playing the shorter version of the tiol anthem was not wrong and was permissible.
State government officials were not available for clarification.
Another unique aspect was the swearing-in of the council of ministers in two batches of 14 members each, after Jayalalithaa took oath.
The mood at the venue was festive and the joy was infectious.
Members of the AIADMK were all smiles though the event ended very quickly.
This was quite in contrast to the highly emotiol swearing-in of Panneerselvam as chief minister last year following the conviction of Jayalaltihaa by a Bengaluru court.
Panneerselvam, who had then replaced Jayalalithaa as chief minister, and his cabinet colleagues wept openly during the swearing-in ceremony at the time.
A large number of people from various parts of the state lined both sides of the road starting from Jayalalithaa’s residence till the venue of the swearing-in.
Pon Radhakrishn, the union minister of state for road transport, shipping and highways, and other leaders such as H. Raja, L Ganesan, and Sarathkumar attended the ceremony.
From the movie world, actors Rajinikanth, Prabhu, Gundu Kalyam, music director Illayaraja and others attended the function.
Special prayers were offered in temples by AIADMK cadres.
The AIADMK had won the 2011 assembly election and Jayalalithaa was subsequently sworn in as chief minister.
In September 2014, she was disqualified after a Bengaluru court sentenced her to a four-year jail term and fined her Rs 100 crore in an 18-year-old disproportiote assets case.
The Kartaka High Court upheld her appeal and acquitted her of all charges.
AIADMK lawmakers, at a meeting at the party headquarters on Friday, elected Jayalalithaa as leader of the legislature party.
Subsequently, Panneerselvam resigned as chief minister, as did his council of ministers. Governor Rosaiah then invited Jayalalithaa to form the government. IANS