AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa was on Monday sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for a third time along with 33 ministers at a glittering function at the Madras University centenary auditorium in Chennai.
This was the same venue where she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991.
Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala administered the oath of office and secrecy. 63-year-old Jayalalithaa and others took the oath in Tamil and in the name of god. This would be the largest-ever ministry in the state since independence. Jayalalithaa will be retaining the home and police portfolios.
The AIADMK leader had steered the alliance led by her party to a spectacular victory in the elections by winning 200 of the total 234 seats. Jayalalithaa’s new ministry is a blend of experience and youth. Most of the ministers are making their maiden entry into the state cabinet. Jayalalithaa used the ceremony to send a political message by inviting Gujarat chief minister, who drew the maximum applause from the crowd of invitees to the swearing in ceremony. Modi was seated next to CPI secretary D Raja and general secretary AB Bardhan and they were seen engaged in animated conversation for over half an hour waiting for the arrival of governor Surjit Singh Barnala.
The presence of Modi at the celebration of her triumphant return as the chief minister, in the process decimating the Congress and DMK is significant, coming a day after Sonia Gandhi’s congratulatory call. Jayalalithaa has chosen to remain silent on the reported invite by Sonia Gandhi for a meeting in Delhi. Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Rashriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh, were the other leaders present at the swearing in, which was passed up by the DMK and Congress leaders.