Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister for sixth time

World Monday 23/May/2016 16:44 PM
By: Times News Service
Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister for sixth time

Chennai: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J. Jayalalithaa, who defied a 32-year history to return to power for a second consecutive term, on Monday took oath as chief minister for the sixth time at a function in which Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was also present, breaking a practice of the rivals keeping away from the other's ceremony.
The 68-year-old Jayalalithaa along with 28 others including her trusted lieutenant O. Pannerselvam took the oath of office and secrecy in the name of God in Tamil that was administered by Governor K. Rosaiah.
The AIADMK supremo retained 15 of her ministers who were in the previous cabinet and 13 new faces including three women.
Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Pon Radhakrishnan, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and senior AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai and Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala were seated in the front row.
DMK treasurer M. K.Stalin, former DMK Ministers E.V. Velu, Ponmudy, party MLAs Sekhar Babu, Vagai Chandrasekhar and Ku Ka Selvam also attended the ceremony.
For decades both AIADMK and DMK leaders had kept away from the oath-taking ceremonies of rivals.
Amid slogans of "Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Vazhga (Long live revolutionary leader Amma) by AIADMK supporters, Jayalalithaa stepped into the decorated Madras University Auditorium in her trademark green saree.
Slogans hailing the party chief also echoed the venue when she signed the documents after taking oath.
Arrangements had been made for live telecast of the ceremony in many parts of the state with giant LED screens being placed at vantage points.
While Jayalalithaa took oath alone, others were sworn-in in groups in a brief ceremony lasting less than 30 minutes.
At the venue, she was welcomed by top state government officials led by Chief Secretary K. Gnanadesikan with a bouquet of flowers.
Later, when Governor Rosaiah arrived she welcomed him with a bouquet and introduced her Cabinet colleagues in keeping with the protocol.
Ministers in the outgoing Cabinet Natham Viswanathan, Vaithilingam, newly elected MLAs, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs of the ruling party were also amongst the audience.
The ministers retained were O. Panneerselvam (Finance), Eddapadi K Palaniswami (Public Works), Sellur K. Raju (Cooperation), P. Thangamani (Electricity), SP Velumani (Municipal Administration), D. Jayakumar (Fisheries), C.V. Shanmugam (Law, courts), KP Anbazhagan (Higher Education), MC Sampath (Labour), R Kamaraj (Food and Civil Supplies), C Vijayabaskar (Health), SP Shanmuganathan (Milk and Dairy), R.B. Udhaya Kumar (Revenue), KT Rajenthra Balaji (Rural Industries), and K C Veeramani (Commercial Taxes).
Meanwhile, minutes after she was sworn in, chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa ordered a slew of measures aimed at fulfilling her electoral promises including waiving crop loans of farmers and free units of electricity to consumers.
She also ordered increase in gold allocation for women beneficiaries and reducing the working hours of state-run, Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor outlets besides closure of 500 of its shops.
Immediately after being sworn in, Jayalalithaa drove to Fort St George where the Secretariat is located and signed five files to fulfil five of her electoral promises, as mentioned in her party manifesto.
She first signed a file ordering waiver of crop loans upto March 31, 2016 payable to co-operative banks.
The waiver includes crop loan, medium and long term loans of small and micro farmers payable to cooperative banks and the move would entail a financial burden of Rs5,780 crore on her government.
Jayalalitha's second order was 100 units of free power for domestic electricity consumers with effect from Monday in tune with the present tariff computation.
It would entail an additional payout of Rs1,607 crore as grant to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) by the state government.
Another order was for increasing gold allocation from 4 to 8 grams for women beneficiaries under the Thallikku Thangam Scheme (Gold for 'Mangalsutra').From now on beneficiaries will get eight grams of gold in addition to monetary assistance of Rs25,000 to Rs50,000.
The chief minister increased free power to handloom weavers to 200 units and for powerlooms to 750 units. She ordered closure of 500 state-run TASMAC retail liquor outlets and cut short working hours of bars.
With effect from Tuesday, the retail outlets and bars would function from noon to 10 pm which currently remain open between 10 am to 10 pm.
All measures are in tune with her electoral promises and she had said she would show her gratitude to the people through her work.