Palaniswami, a loyalist
of the jailed AIADMK
leader V.K. Sasikala, on
Thursday took oath as
Tamil Nadu's Chief
Minister, ending for
now an ugly war within the rul-
Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao
administered the oath of office
and secrecy to Palaniswami, 63,
and his team at the Raj Bhavan,
only hours after inviting him to
form a government.
Paaniswami took oath in
Tamil, followed by 30 ministers
in batches. He has to prove his
majority in the assembly within
The assembly has, however,
been convened on Saturday and
the Sasikala faction said it was
confident of proving its majority
of at least 117 legistors in the
house of 234.
"We have the support of 125
legislators and we will prove our
majority," V.N.Virugai Ravi, a
legislator, told IANS.
Palaniswami has retained the
crucial Finance Ministry he had
in the outgoing government of O.
Panneerselvam, whose attempt
to foil Sasikala's bid to be the
Chief Minister led to bitter fighting in the AIADMK.
A farmer by profession,
Palaniswami also retained the
portfolios of Public Works,
Highways and Minor Ports he
held in the earlier government.
A Raj Bhavan statement said
senior party leaders C.
Sreenivasan and K.A.
Sengottaiyan —the only new face
in the cabinet —were designated
as Minister for Forests and
Minister for School Education
and Sports and Youth Welfare.
P. Thangamani will be in
charge of Electricity, Prohibition
The other ministers are: K.
Raju, S.P. Velumani, D.
Jayakumar, C.Ve. Shanmugam,
K.P. Anbalagan, V. Saroja, M.C.
Sampath, K.C. Karuppanan, R.
Kamaraj, O.S. Manian, K.
Radhakrishnan, C. Vijaya Baskar,
R. Doraikkannu, Kadambur Raju,
R.B. Udhayakumar, N. Natarajan,
K.C. Veeramani, K. T. Rajenthra
Bhalaji, P. Benjamin, Nilofer
Kafeel, M.R. Vijayabaskar, M.
Manikandan, V.M. Rajjalakshmi,
G. Baskaran, S. Ramachandran, S.
Valarmathi and P. Balakrishna
Dropped from the previous
cabinet are Panneerselvam and
former School Education
Minister K. Pandiarajan.
Panneerselvam, who took
charge of the government after
the December 5 death of Chief
Minister J. Jayalalithaa, vowed to
pursue his fight against "one
family" controlling the AIADMK -
- a reference to Sasikala.
He said people were angry
that a new government was
formed with the support of legislators who, he said, were held for
days in captivity at a resort near
His aides said they would
meet Election Commission officials in Delhi to complain that
Sasikala had no right to be the
AIADMK General Secretary.
Sasikala was elected to the top
post and then chosen as the
AIADMK legislature party leader
by MLAs to enable her to replace
Panneerselvam as the Chief
That's when Panneerselvam
revolted, leading to the worst
faction fighting in the AIADMK.
DMK leader M.K. Stalin said
the 15 days time given to
Palaniswami to prove his majority would result in horse trading.
Shortly after the oath taking, a
group of supporters of the new
Chief Minister stoned
Panneerselvam's house to
protest against the presence of a
number of backers of the former
Thursday's celebrations by
Palaniswami supporters came
after a day of gloom when
Sasikala returned to the Central
Jail in Bengaluru after being held
guilty of corruption by the
Also jailed with her were her
relatives Elavarsi and V.N.
Sudhakaran. Sasikala, who had
wished to become the Chief
Minister, is now barred from contesting elections for 10 years.
Barring Panneerselvam and
Pandiarajan, all other MLAs in
"the rival camp are welcome to
join us", AIADMK leader O.S.
Manian told the media.
Hailing from Nedungulam village in Salem district,
Palaniswami belongs to the
He joined the AIADMK in the
1980s and entered the Tamil
Nadu assembly for the first time
in 1989 from Edapadi constituency.
After the Supreme Court
upheld the earlier conviction of
Sasikala, she chose Palaniswami
as her successor as the leader of
the party legislature wing.
INDIA ABROAD February 24, 2017 28 INDIA
High Drama in Tamil Nadu as Apex Court
Upholds Sasikala's Conviction
The AIADMK power struggle ends with E. Palaniswami taking oath as the new chief minster of Tamil Nadu
Above, newly appointed AIADMK
chief Sasikala at party headquarters
in Chennai on Jan 4, 2016. Below,
E. Palaniswami taking the oath as the
new chief minster of Tamil Nadu at
Raj Bhavan in Chennai, Feb. 16.