About a year ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa took over again as Chief Minister in a swift, swearing-in ceremony that lasted about half-an-hour on Saturday.
Acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case, but still facing the prospect of an appeal against the acquittal in the Supreme Court, Ms. Jayalalithaa assumes office at a time when her party requires a morale boost; the government has seemed directionless in her absence.
This is the fifth time she has taken oath as Chief Minister — thrice after an election victory and twice following her acquittal in court cases. She was unseated twice while in office by court orders.
Ms. Jayalalithaa took her oaths of office and secrecy in the presence of Governor K. Rosaiah. She was followed by her Cabinet colleagues who, in batches, took the oath together in an apparent bid to save time.
BJP leaders from New Delhi did not attend the ceremony, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ms. Jayalalithaa and conveyed his best wishes to her on Twitter. Union Minister of State Pon. Radhakrishnan represented the Centre at the ceremony.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Ms. Jayalalithaa drove back to her Poes Garden residence.
On Sunday, she will be visiting Fort St. George, the seat of power, official sources say.
Green signal at Centenary Auditorium
The 3,000-seat Centenary Auditorium at the University of Madras brimmed with celebrities, including actor Rajinikanth as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was sworn in for the fifth time on Saturday morning by Governor K. Rosiah.
Green, said to be Ms. Jayalalithaa’s most preferred colour, dominated the ceremony as the Chief Minister was attired in a green sari. Her sparkling emerald ring was the cynosure of all eyes when the camera zoomed in as she signed her oath with a green pen. The backdrop to the stage was also green.
Ms. Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala, who was also acquitted in the case, was seated in the front row, clad in a green sari.
Outside the hall, a mega screen was put up for the hundreds of cadre who could not get a seat. "Amma varugirar [Amma is coming]" speakers blared — a song possibly composed for the occasion — as screens showed recorded visuals of a beaming Ms. Jayalalithaa inaugurating various schemes.