K. 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 ruling party.
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.
Palaniswami took oath in Tamil, followed by 30 ministers in batches. He has to prove his majority in the assembly within 15 days.
The assembly has, however, been convened on Saturday and the Sasikala faction said it was confident of proving its majority of at least 117 legislators 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.
Palaniswami also retained the portfolios of Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports he held in the earlier government.
Hailing from Nedungulam village in Salem district, Palaniswami belongs to Gounder community.
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 party legislature wing.
Meanwhile, 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.
Sasikala was elected to the top post and then chosen as AIADMK legislature party leader by MLAs to enable her to replace Panneerselvam as Chief Minister. That’s when Panneerselvam revolted, leading to the worst faction fighting in the AIADMK.