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Jayalalithaa, 33 ministers to be sworn in on Monday

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 15, 2011 21:22 IST
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All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa, who steered the party-led alliance to a spectacular win in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls, will take over the reins of the government for a third time on Monday.

The 63-year-old leader will be sworn in as chief minister on Monday at the Madras University's centenary auditorium at 12.15 pm, Chief Secretary S Malathi announced after the AIADMK chief met Governor S S Barnala to stake claim to form government.

The meeting came after the 146 newly-elected AIADMK members of legislative assembly chose her as their leader at a meeting at the party headquarters in Royapettah.

Jayalalithaa steered the AIADMK alliance to a spectacular victory in the elections by winning 200 of the total 234 seats.

After meeting the governor, the AIADMK chief said her immediate priorities as chief minister would be to restore law and order and the economy of the state.

Jayalalilthaa, who had earlier ruled the state in 1991-96 and 2001-06, said, "My first priority will be to restore law and order. The state's economy has been totally derailed and there has been a lot of regression during the last five years. It is almost like having gone back to dark ages.

She added that the state had to be brought back to the path of growth, development and prosperity.

Describing as "perennial" the acute power shortage situation, believed to be one of the factors that brought down the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, she said all issues plaguing the state would be addressed one by one. She assured people that they need not worry about their safety and security, promising that law and order would be "back on track".

A strong believer of astrology, Jayalalithaa will be taking oath as chief minister after the 'Rahu Kalam' (7.30-9 am) and 'Yama Kandam'(10.30am -12 noon), both considered inauspicious to start new ventures.

Meanwhile, there are indications that Jayalalithaa might shift the seat of governance to Fort St George, dumping the new secretariat-cum-assembly complex built during the DMK tenure.

Belonging to the Defence Ministry and leased out to the state government, Fort St George had for long remained the seat of power since the British era before DMK government in 2009 took up the construction of the new assembly-secretariat complex at Omdandurar Estate off Anna Salai in the heart of city, a pet project of then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

The 17th century British heritage structure is now being given a face-lift, in an indication that Jayalalithaa would rule the state from there.

A library for classical Tamil located inside the assembly hall in the fort will be moved elsewhere, even as the chief minister's office is being spruced up, making it more or less certain that Jayalalithaa's office will be based here.

Jayalalithaa, who had criticised Karunanidhi for setting up the library in "haste", had come down hard on the design and aesthetics of the under-construction assembly secretariat complex, terming the cylindrical shaped building as a 'circus tent,' and vowed not to set her foot there.

Keeping her word, she had not participated in the Budget session proceedings held in the new complex.

Her party's Deputy Legislature Party Leader O Panneerselvam had said on the concluding day of the Assembly session this year that his leader would not only storm back to power but rule the state from Fort St George.

Attempts had been earlier made even by Jayalalithaa (during her tenure as chief minister in 2001-06) to shift the secretariat elsewhere citing lack of space.

However, it was the Karunanidhi-led government which made the first move in this regard, choosing the Omandurar Government Estate, located about half a km from Fort St George, to house the assembly and secretariat.

The Rs 1000 crore assembly complex, which is yet to be completed, was inaugurated last year by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Jayalalithaa, who stitched up a rainbow alliance with parties like actor-politician Vijaykant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the Left parties besides several smaller parties, stormed to power with the AIADMK alone garnering 150 seats.

The party had made "deteriorating law and order" besides power cut and corruption key poll issues, which seemed to have grounded the DMK which ended up with only 23 seats, suffering one of its worst ever poll debacles. Seventeen ministers including K Anbazhagan, Veerapandi S Arumugam and K N Nehru bit the dust, though Karunanidhi and his son Stalin managed to win.

After winning all the bye-elections since 2006 when it came to power, besides the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the DMK failed to recreate the magic, especially at a time when 2G spectrum allocation scam came to haunt it with Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja being named in the CBI charge sheet.

Jayalalithaa will have 33 ministers in her cabinet and she will hold key portfolios of Police and Home, among others.

As many as 25 of the 34-member cabinet are fresh faces which include youngsters like Senthil Balaji, who has been allotted the transport ministry, a release from the Raj Bhavan said.

Senior AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam (Finance), K A Senkottaiyan (Agriculture), Natham R Viswanathan (Electricity and Prohibition and Excise) and C V Shanmugam (School Education) have been inducted for yet another term, even as other expected names like former ministers D Jayakumar, S Jayaraman and Valarmathy have not been taken into the present cabinet.

Among others, Jayalalithaa will hold the portfolios of Public, Police, Home and Prevention of Corruption, the release said, adding that S Vijay, representing Vellore constituency, will be the health minister.

Besides Jayalalithaa, Gokula Indra and Selvi Ramajayam are the women faces of the new cabinet.

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