Chennai: Jayalalithaa loyalist O Panneerselvam was on Monday was sworn-in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, succeeding his party chief after her conviction in an illegal assets case. An emotional Panneerselvam was seen wiping his eyes as he was sworn-in by Governor K Rosaiah at the Raj Bhavan.
The new Chief Minister’s cabinet was also sworn-in by the Governor. Government officials had feigned ignorance since morning when journalists of various establishments contacted them for information about the swearing-in ceremony.
The 63-year-old Panneerselvam, who is the AIADMK treasurer, was unanimously elected as Leader of AIADMK legislature party on Sunday following Jayalalithaa’s conviction and subsequent disqualification as MLA following her four year prison term awarded by the Bangalore special court in the Rs 666.5 million disproportionate assets case.
Panneerselvam had submitted the letter to the Governor later following which the latter invited him to form a ministry led by him. Even when Rosaiah extended customary greetings after the oath taking ceremony, Panneerselvam appeared deeply distressed and the Governor was seen comforting him.
A sombre mood prevailed as the newly sworn in ministers of the crisis-ridden AIADMK appeared grim. The media was not invited for coverage of the swearing-in ceremony and no invitations reached the opposition parties.
According to sources, a top government official extended an invitation over telephone to Madras High Court Chief Justice S K Kaul requesting his presence at the function.