CHENNAI: Barely 48 hours after the conviction of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa by a Bangalore court, the Tamil Nadu government was back in business on Monday with the swearing in of a 31-member Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at a simple function held at Raj Bhavan here.
Portfolios of all the ministers were retained as in the Cabinet headed by Jayalalithaa, while Panneerselvam would look after Public, Home and Police portfolios looked after by her, in addition to Public Works and Finance. The hour-long swearing-in ceremony was a sombre occasion where most of the ministers broke down while taking the oath of office and secrecy and some of them took the oath in a faltering voice. Governor K Rosaiah administered the oath of office to the ministers.
From Raj Bhavan, the entire Council of Ministers drove straight to the Secretariat where they assumed charge in their respective chambers.
Panneerselvam did not use the CM’s chamber and assumed charge in the chamber used by him till recently. During his earlier stint as Chief Minister in 2001 too he did not use the Chief Minister’s chamber out of respect for Jayalalithaa. Sources said Panneerselvam has expressed his wish to function from his chamber in the first floor of the main building of the Secretariat.
Around 3.15 pm, Panneerselvam held discussions with his colleagues in his chamber. During the discussions, he enquired about the law and order situation in the State and gave instructions to officials. Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, advisor to the State government, Sheela Balakrishnan, secretaries of the Chief Minister, DGP K Ramanujam, ADGP (law and order) T K Rajendran and other officials were present during the discussions. Later, all the ministers went to their chambers and commenced their duty.
A couple of hours after the new Cabinet was sworn in, the official website of the Tamil Nadu government was updated with the new Council of Ministers with Panneerselvam as the Chief Minister.
Bangalore: AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Monday filed an appeal in the Karnataka High Court challenging the special court’s order convicting her. The matter is listed for hearing on Tuesday. Senior Supreme Court advocate Ram Jethmalani is likely to represent her. In the appeal, Jayalalithaa sought the suspension of sentence and stay on execution of conviction and bail, saying it was not death sentence or life imprisonment but simple imprisonment. She also said her absence could adversely affect Tamil Nadu’s finances.