Palaniswami is TN CM, floor test on Saturday

Heads 31-member ministry

Palaniswami is TN CM, floor test on Saturday

New AIADMK legislature party leader Edappadi K Palaniswami was sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister on Thursday after Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao invited him to form the government.

Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal has convened a special sitting of the House at 11 am on Saturday to enable the new chief minister to test his strength on the floor of the House.

Earlier, the governor had asked Palaniswami to prove his majority in 15 days.

Palaniswami is the third chief minister to assume office after AIADMK retained power for a second successive term in the Assembly elections held in May last year.

He met the governor in the morning and was sworn in as chief minister around 4.30 pm.

Ending 10 days of uncertainty, Rao administered the oath of office and secrecy to 62-year-old Palaniswami and his council of ministers in the presence of several party leaders — including T T V Dinakaran, who was appointed AIADMK’s deputy general secretary by the party chief, his aunt V K Sasikala.

The much-awaited move by the governor ended the political uncertainty in the state following the power struggle within AIADMK between Sasikala and caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against her.

Panneerselvam had said that he was forced to resign as chief minister to make way for Sasikala, who is now in jail after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case. Before she headed for prison, the party faction led by her picked Palaniswami for the chief minister’s post.

Palaniswami, who is the 13th chief minister of the state, heads a 31-member ministry.

Except finance and school education, the portfolios of his cabinet colleagues remain unchanged.

A staunch loyalist of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Palaniswami will retain charge of several crucial portfolios including Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Home department earlier held by rebel leader Panneerselvam.

The school education minister’s post, which was held by K Pandiarajan, who shifted his loyalty to the Panneerselvam's camp, has gone to senior AIADMK leader K A Sengottaiyan.

Several AIADMK MLAs from the Sasikala group, who were staying at a resort amid the Sasikala-Panneerselvam power struggle, came to Chennai to attend the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

Soon after the swearing-in, Palaniswami, accompanied by Dinakaran, visited Jayalalithaa's memorial and paid homage.

“We will prove our majority in the Assembly and our government will continue,” Palaniswami said near the memorial site.

AIADMK workers across the state celebrated by bursting crackers and distributing sweets soon after Palaniswami took oath as chief minister. But tension prevailed for a while when some miscreants pelted stones near rival Panneerselvam's home in the city.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai claimed that the new AIADMK government would serve its full term and all MLAs who supported Sasikala will stay united. He also said the MLAs who went over to the Panneerselvam camp will return.

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