J Jayalalithaa was sworn in for a record fifth term as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister at a glittering ceremony at Madras University, less than a fortnight after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in 18-year-old disproportionate assets case. 28 other ministers, including Jaya loyalist and former chief minister O Panneerselvam, also took their oaths with the AIADMK supremo.
In the limited capacity Madras University auditorium, those who attended the oath ceremony included superstar and Jaya’s Poes Garden neighbour, Rajinikanth, ICC chairman N Srinivasan and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan. Interestingly, Jayalalithaa’s swearing-in coincided with the AIADMK government completing four years in office on Saturday.
Huge cutouts of Jayalalithaa garlanded with flowers lined the streets of Chennai on Saturday with thousands of party workers and supporters raising slogans, dancing and celebrating the return of their leader.
On Friday, the 67 year-old leader, popularly known as Amma, was given a resounding welcome as she left her residence to meet Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, her first public appearance in about eight months. The meeting with Rosaiah followed her election earlier on Friday as the chief of the AIADMK legislature party.
Jayalalithaa has retained old faces in her Cabinet when she was chief minister from 2011-14. This includes her trusted aide Panneerselvam as Minister of Finance, Natham R Viswanathan as Electricity Minister and R Vaithilingam as Housing Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami and P Mohan.
A week ago, AIADMK legislator from Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in Chennai, P Vetrivel, resigned his post, triggering speculation that Jayalalithaa may return to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from that seat. There is also a possibility that the AIADMK chief may announce early elections. Tanil Nadu is scheduled to vote next year.