Chennai: AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa will be sworn-in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time on Saturday, within less than a fortnight of the Karnataka High Court upholding her appeal and acquitting her in a disproportionate assets case.
Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah’s office, in a statement, said the governor has approved the recommendation made by chief minister-designate Jayalalithaa regarding allocation of portfolios among the council of ministers.
The swearing-in ceremony would be held on May 23 at 11 a.m. at the Madras University Centenary Building.
A total of 29 ministers, including 67-year-old Jayalalithaa, would be sworn-in.
Coming out of her home after more than seven months on Friday, Jayalalithaa called on Rosaiah and exchanged pleasantries.
She also handed over the list of ministers to be sworn in at the swearing-in ceremony slated for Saturday, party officials said.
Earlier in the day, Rosaiah accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his council of ministers and invited Jayalalithaa to form a new ministry at the earliest.
Jayalalithaa had to relinquish the post of chief minister and her Srirangam assembly seat after she was convicted and given a four-year jail term along with Rs.100 crore fine by a trial court in Bengaluru in the disproportionate assets case.
Jayalalithaa on Friday paid floral tributes at the statues here of party founder late M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), DMK founder late C.N. Annadurai and Dravidar Kazhagam founder late E.V. Ramaswamy.
Thousands of party cadres from several parts of the state, despite the scorching summer heat, lined up along the route she took to have a look at their leader.
AIADMK cadres from different parts of the state were arriving in the city since early morning to greet Jayalalithaa and assemble at the party head office.
Traffic in Anna Salai, a major road, was thrown out of gear due to the huge crowd.
Hundreds of party flags, posters and banners with Jayalalithaa’s photo were put up on the route she took. People climbed trees by the roadside to have a glimpse of their leader.
It was a day of fast-paced political developments — along expected lines — since morning.
At 7 a.m., the AIADMK lawmakers in a meeting at the party headquarters elected Jayalalithaa as leader of the legislature party.
Panneerselvam proposed Jayalalithaa’s name amid enthusiastic clapping by all the law makers. He said he would resign as chief minister and leader of legislature party.
It is expected that Jayalalithaa would contest for re-election from Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency since on May 17, P. Vetrivel, a party legislator representing Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency, resigned from his post and the same was accepted by the speaker.
With Vetrivel’s resignation, the AIADMK’s strength in the 234-member assembly comes down by one to 150, excluding the speaker.
A close aide of AIADMK founder-leader MGR, Jayalalithaa became the party’s propaganda secretary in the early 1980s. In 1984, she entered the Rajya Sabha.
Jayalalithaa was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly for the first time in 1989.
Two years later, she became the chief minister, sweeping the election held after the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Her party was voted out in 1996 amid corruption charges, but she returned to power in 2001.
Jayalalithaa again led the AIADMK to a thumping victory in 2011. This time, she announced a string of populist measures that have proved to be hugely popular in Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalithaa studied in Bengaluru and Chennai, and ventured into acting. She made her debut at the age of 16 in a Kannada movie, and went on to act in over 140 films.