Edappadi K Palaniswami, 63, was sworn into office on Thursday as the 21st chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
This will be followed by a floor test on Saturday.
As widely reported already, he was the choice of the ruling AIADMK’s now-jailed chief, V K Sasikala, after her own claim to the job was aborted by the Supreme Court convicting her in an old graft case.
His challenge and that of the party’s new deputy chief, T T V Dinakaran, who is Saikala’s nephew and was appointed by her to the charge after her jail verdict, is to keep the legislators united, with O Panneerselvam, the earlier CM, removed by Sasikala and refusing to accept his dethroning. They also have to win a vote of confidence in the legislative assembly within 15 days.
Party MLAs and MPs with Sasikala, staying for the past 10 days at a private resort near this city, finally got into a celebratory mood after C H Vidyasagar Rao, the officiating state governor, finally have the formal invitation to Palaniswami. For all these days, the MLAs and ministers had kept away, freezing the state’s administration
The development comes a day after Sasikala and two of her relatives surrendered before a judge in Bengaluru to serve the remaining three years, 10 months and 27 days of sentence in the graft case mentioned earlier. Party supremo Jayalalithaa, who died after a long illness in early December, and whose household aide Sasikala was, was the prime accused in that case. The Palaniswami government will have 31 ministers, including the CM, with most of those in the outgoing ministry retained, with the same portfolios.