Jaya takes charge with 33 in cabinet

Crowning day: AIADMK supremo likely to keep police and home portfolios

Jaya takes charge with 33 in cabinet

At a glittering ceremony, Governor Surjit Singh Barnala administered the oath of office and secrecy to 63-year-old Jayalalitha and other 33 ministers in her Cabinet. Everyone took  oath in Tamil.  Jayalalitha is likely to retain the police and home portfolios.

Milling crowds thronged the venue since dawn and the  hall overflowed with people even before the ceremony.   The auditorium reverberated with a melodious instrumental rendering of “Maha Ganapathim Manasaswaraami,” much before the official protocol drill rolled on.

Clad in a maroon sari, Jayalalitha, accompanied by her friend Sasikala, was heartily cheered by her partymen and MLAs as she entered the hall. The big crowd was surprised as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, ushered in by the State BJP chief Pon Radhakrishna, briskly walked in by the VVIP corridor behind the dais.  Modi took a seat next to CPI leaders- D Raja and A B Bardhan.

Several others then greeted Modi, even as other key leaders,  including Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu and and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh arrived. Actor and DMDK leader Vijayakant was also present.

Moving in a wheel chair, the governor, who reached the venue a few minutes late, had a word with Jayalalitha on the dais. Chief Secretary S Malathy read out the name of the chief minister-designate to be sworn in first.

The other ministers sworn in after “Amma” included O Pannerselvam, K A Sengottaiyan, Natham Vishwanathan, K P Munusamy, C Shanmugavelu, R Vaithiyalingam, and two women ministers Gokula Indira and Selvi Ramajayam.

True to his dramatic bearing, Modi floored everyone one present by taking the lead and felicitated Jayalalitha with a red shawl. Bardhan had a green shawl for “Amma,” her favourite colour.

Not to be left behind, Naidu thrust himself forward to greet her with his shawl even as Jayalalitha was having a word with Bardhan. Capping it all was Vijayakant offering a green shawl to “Amma” and exchanging pleasantries with her, reaffirming the spirit of bonhomie after a massive electoral win.

While representatives of the DMK, the Congress and the PMK were conspicuous by their absence, actor Sarath Kumar along with his wife and actor Radhika were among the star-sprinkled audience, who included diplomats, top police and IAS officials, and Madras High Court judges.

The AIADMK-led front won 203 seats in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly. The AIADMK won 150 seats—146 on its own and four by allies who fought under its election symbol.
  
Modi, Naidu call on Rajnikant

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday called on Tamil super star Rajnikant, who has been admitted to the Sri Ramachandra Hospital here. The two leaders, who were in the city to attend the swearing-in ceremony of AIADMK leader J Jayalalitha as Tamil Nadu chief minister, met the star in his private room in the hospital and enquired about his health.

Hospital sources said Rajnikant, 60, who was admitted on May 13 with recurrent respiratory infection and gastro-intestinal problems, is cheerful and is progressing well.

“His vital parameters are normal. He is advised complete rest,” T G Nallamuthu, the hospital’s media consultant said. This is the third time in just over three weeks that the matinee idol is admitted to hospital. Rajnikant was admitted to the St. Isabel Hospital here on April 29 after a bout of vomiting and was discharged the same evening. He was again admitted to the ICU of the same hospital on May 5 with allergic bronchitis and fever.

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