Tuesday, May 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jaya sworn in CM
Governor goes by people’s choice

Chennai, May 14
In an unprecedented and controversial action, AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha was today sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, a day after her party stormed back to power in elections which she was barred from contesting.

The 53-year-old stormy petrel of Tamil Nadu politics was back in power within hours of being unanimously elected leader by her party’s 132 newly-elected members in the 234-member assembly although her nomination papers in the elections had been rejected in view of her conviction in a corruption case.

Governor Fathima Beevi, former Judge of the Supreme Court, invited Ms Jayalalitha to form the government shortly after she staked her claim during a meeting between the two at Raj Bhavan.

Out of power for five years, Ms Jayalalitha lost no time to resume her office, taking oath along with five ministers, all belonging to the AIADMK, even as delirious supporters burst crackers and danced on the streets.

Wearing a dark green sari, Ms Jayalalitha presented a shawl to the Governor before she administered the oath of office and secrecy to her.

Those sworn in as ministers are Mr C. Ponnaiyan (a minister in the MGR Cabinet), former Union Minister M. Thambidurai, former minister D. Jayakumar, Mr Aiyaru Vandayar and Mrs R. Saroja. Ms Jayalalitha and the ministers took the oath of office and secrecy in Tamil.

Even as legal opinion was divided about inviting a convicted person, who could not contest the elections, the AIADMK Legislature Party unanimously elected her the leader.

Immediately after that, she drove to Raj Bhavan and staked her claim.

As results poured in yesterday, Ms Jayalalitha, whose party has got an absolute majority on its own, said she would not power with allies, who have backed her claim to be the Chief Minister.

As opponents objected to her being invited to form the government, the Congress and her other allies termed the Governor’s decision “legal”.

While Mr Ponnaiyan is a party senior who had worked in the Cabinet of the late MGR and returns to the ministry after a gap of 13 years, Mr Thambidurai is a former Lok Sabha Speaker.

Mr Jayakumar was a minister in her earlier government. The other two are new faces. Mr Vandiyar is a former Congressman from Thanjavur district and Saroja has been elected from the Uppiliyapuram (reserved) Constituency. She had been MLA twice earlier.

Tamil Nadu Congress (TMC) president G. K. Moopanar, state Congress president E. V. K. S. Elangovan and prominent leaders of the AIADMK were among those who attended the simple ceremony.

A large number of party workers gathered outside Raj Bhavan and greeted Ms Jayalalitha.

Earlier, the Governor had invited Ms Jayalalitha to form the government when she called on her and staked the claim. Ms Jayalalitha had handed over a copy of the AIADMK Legislature Party’s resolution unanimously electing her the leader to the Governor.

Her party swept the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, was today unanimously elected the legislature party leader.

The meeting of the legislature party here unanimously resolved that it would “not accept anyone except Ms Jayalalitha’’ as its leader.

The meeting is important in the context of the controversy surrounding Ms Jayalalitha’s disqualification on contesting polls, and also views expressed by certain quarters that she could not be invited by the Governor to form the government. UNI, PTI

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