Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president who led his party to a huge victory in the assembly polls was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Friday.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 68-year old Stalin, for whom this would be his first stint as CM, in a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai.
Stalin immediately swung into action to fulfill his electoral assurances and rejig the administrative set up.
Additional chief Secretary level IAS officer V Irai Anbu was named Chief Secretary and incumbent Rajeev Ranjan eased out and posted as 'Chairman and Managing Director, TN Newsprint and Papers.'
The CM signed orders for giving away Rs 2,000 COVID-19 pandemic relief to two crore plus ration card holders, reducing state-run Aavin milk price by Rs three and to facilitate free of cost travel by women in state-run buses, which were all promises made by DMK. Also, COVID-19 treatment expenses in private hospitals would be covered in a government insurance scheme.
Stalin picked four IAS officials, T Udhayachandran, P Umanath, M S Shanmugam, and Anu George as his secretaries to accelerate work and they would be his core, official team.
A separate division 'Ungal Thoguthiyil Mudalamaichar' meaning 'Chief Minister in your constituency', was set up in the Secretariat. This is to scrutinise and address within 100 days, grievances found in petitions received by Stalin in his election campaign.
IAS official Shilpa Prabhakar Satish was named special officer for the exclusive section to look into petitions.
The Rs 2,000 payout is the first installment in the month of May and the DMK had assured Rs 4,000 pandemic relief for rice ration card holders.
Stalin chaired a meet through video conference with district collectors and top officials to review the pandemic scenario and also inspected a large Covid Care Centre being set up at the Trade Centre in Nandambakkam in Chennai by the government.
An official release said 300 beds would become operational on May 10 and later, 500 more beds shall be in place.
The centre has a 11 kilo litre oxygen tank facility.
A total of 33 ministers were also sworn in following Stalin, of whom 15 are first-time ministers.
All the 34, including Stalin, took the oath as per their conscience and in Tamil, in sync with the decades old tradition of the DMK.
Earlier, Stalin, clad in a white shirt and dhoti, introduced his Cabinet to Purohit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, congratulating Stalin and the CM thanked him for the warm wishes.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among others who greeted Stalin on his assumption of office.
DMK veteran and general secretary Duraimurugan, who had held portfolios like Public Works during the previous DMK rule (2006-11), was administered oath after Stalin and was designated as Water Resources Minister in charge of irrigation projects and has portfolios of mines and minerals.
Home and other portfolios including public, general administration, all India services, district revenue officers, special programme implementation and welfare of differently abled persons are with Chief Minister Stalin.
Palanivel Thiagarajan, a former investment banker, is Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management.
Veteran K K S S R Ramachandran is the Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management. Noted party leader from here and former Chennai Mayor, Ma Subramanian is Minister for Health, Family Welfare.
K Ponmudi is Minister for Higher Education, Thangam Thennaarasu is Minister for Industries and P K Sekarbabu, Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.
V Senthil Balaji, who was transport minister between 2011 and 2015 during the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government headed by J Jayalalithaa and who joined the DMK in 2018, is the minister for electricity.
Certain departments, including agriculture and environment, have been renamed.
Accordingly, the agriculture department is now Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Environment is Department of Environment and Climate Change.
M R K Panneerselvam is the Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
E V Velu is Minister for Public Works.
The Welfare of Non Resident Tamils (WoNRT) is a new portfolio with Gingee K S Masthan, who has been designated as Minister for Minorities Welfare and WoNRT.
Stalin's family members, including his wife Durga and son Udhayanidhi Stalin, who won from Triplicane-Chepauk constituency here, took part in the event.
When Stalin took the oath, beginning with words 'Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin agiya naan (I, M K Stalin)', his wife's eyes welled up in joy.
The DMK chief's elder brother, M K Alagiri's son Dayanidhi and former union minister Dayanidhi Maran were present.
The cabinet has two women ministers, P Geetha Jeevan, a former minister, who has been given social welfare and women empowerment and N Kayalvizhi Selvaraj, who has been designated Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare.
Selvaraj, who is a first time minister, had trounced Bharatiya Janata Party Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan from Dharapuram constituency.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam top leader O Panneerselvam, leaders from alliance parties, including Congress's P Chidambaram, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko and top state officials took part in the ceremony.
Marked by bonhomie, Panneerselvam and Speaker of the 15th Assembly, P Dhanapal represented the AIADMK in a tea party hosted by Purohit in the Raj Bhavan.
The swearing-in ceremony, which went on for about an hour and 10 minutes, witnessed adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing masks.
Later, when Stalin paid floral tributes to a portrait of his father and late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at the residence of the late leader in Chennai, he turned emotional and took the blessings of his mother Dayalu Ammal.
Stalin's family members, including his sister Selvi, were present when he visited the Gopalapuram house.
Later, he paid homage in the 'samadhis' of Karunanidhi, party founder C N Annadurai and social reformer-rationalist leader 'Periyar' E V Ramasamy.