Edappadi K Palanisamy was sworn in as the 13th chief minister of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, the 20-minute ceremony bringing a swift end to the prolonged political crisis that followed the death of chief minister J.Jayalalithaa in December.
The swearing-in of 63-year-old Palanisamy and 31 cabinet ministers by governor Vidyasagar Rao also dropped the curtain on a series of dramatic political events that saw over 100 legislators whisked off to a beach resort and the Supreme Court dash the chief ministerial ambitions of Jayalalithaa’s friend V.K. Sasikala.
Palanisamy—the third chief minister of the southern state in less than three months— has 15 days to seek a vote of confidence in the legislative assembly, said the governor’s office after the swearing.
Palanisamy is expected to seek the trust vote on Saturday.
As Sasikala began a nearly-four-year jail term at Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru after being convicted of amassing assets disproportionate to her income, clashes broke out near ousted chief minister O.Panneerselvam’s house between his supporters and those of law minister C. Ve. Shanmugam.
“The fight for justice will continue. We should all get together and prevent the party from going into the hands of one family,” said Panneerselvam, as over 100 legislators from the Sasikala faction, who have been lodged at Golden Bay resort at Koovathur on the outskirts of Chennai for over a week, finally headed to the city to attend the swearing-in.
Panneerselvam had accused Sasikala of abducting and wrongfully confining the legislators.
The swearing-in at Chennai lasted 20 minutes, and there was only one change in the existing 31-member cabinet—K.A. Sengottaiyan, a former revenue minister replaced K. Pandiarajan as school education minister. Pandiarajan had joined the Panneerselvam camp last week.
Palanisamy retained his public works, irrigation, highways and minor ports ministries along with Panneerselvam’s portfolios—public, IAS, IPS, Indian Forest Service, Police, Home, Finance, Personnel and Administrative reforms.
While Dindigul C. Sreenivasan continues to remain the number two in the seniority list, Sengottaiyan is the number three in the cabinet.
Palanisamy, his cabinet ministers and Sasikala’s nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran—appointed deputy general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Wednesday—visited the memorials of Jayalalithaa, C.N. Annadurai and AIADMK founder M.G.Ramachandran at the Marina beach.
On Thursday the Panneerselvam camp said the former chief minister will travel across the state to meet people and seek public support.
AIADMK MP V. Maitreyan from the Panneerselvam camp met Election Commission officials on Thursday afternoon, to discuss the validity of Sasikala’s 31 December appointment as general secretary of the party, which in turn will decide the legality of Sasikala’s decisions as general secretary.
M.K. Stalin, working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the leader of opposition urged the new CM to work as per the constitution and not take orders from “Bengaluru prison” “There is no doubt that the instability that this ruling AIADMK government has given to Tamil Nadu will continue to remain,” he added.
“The 15 days’ time period given by the governor to Palanisamy to prove his majority will lead to horse-trading,” he said.