Tamil Nadu finally has a new Chief Minister. For now.

Edappadi Palaniswami and his cabinet took oath on Thursday, 12 days after O Panneerselvam resigned.
Tamil Nadu finally has a new Chief Minister. For now.
Tamil Nadu finally has a new Chief Minister. For now.
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The red beacon has been removed from O Panneerselvam’s car and shifted to the vehicle of Edappadi K Palaniswamy. The confusion over whether Tamil Nadu has an ‘interim Chief Minister’ or a ‘caretaker Chief Minister’ has also ended.

Edappadi K Palaniswamy has been sworn in as the 25th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and he will hold the office for now, at least until the Tamil Nadu Speaker convenes the state Assembly and a confidence vote is held.

On Thursday evening, Governor Vidyasagar Rao arrived at the hall in Raj Bhavan where the swearing in ceremony was being held. Sasikala’s clan had front row seats - her brother Dhivaharan, his son Jai Anand, and nephew TTV Dinakaran, the newly appointed deputy general secretary of the AIADMK.

Also present was Thambidurai, the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and a staunch supporter of Sasikala. The MLAs who have spent the last week at the Golden Bay resorts in Koovathur also reached in time for the ceremony, and they made their presence felt with chants of  ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Vaazhga’ (Long live Puratchi Thalaivi) and ‘Chinnamma Vaazhga’ (Long live Chinnamma), the second Palaniswami was sworn in.

And as the chants subsided, the Governor swore in the Cabinet Ministers in batches of eight. While Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet (and OPS’s) has been retained, the new entrant is senior AIADMK leader K A Sengottaiyan, who replaces Mafoi Pandiarajan as School Education Minister.  Mafoi Pandiarajan was the only minister who had crossed over to OPS's side.

Palaniswami himself will take over the portfolios that OPS was in-charge of including the crucial portfolios of Home and Finance.

As the short ceremony ended, the AIADMK MLAs and supporters chanted slogans once again, making it clear that while Sasikala was in jail, her hold over the party - and in turn the government - has gone nowhere.

The new Chief Minister and his cabinet will most likely travel to Bengaluru on Friday to take blessings from Sasikala, lodged in the Bangalore Central Prison.

Tamil Nadu has seen many poitical upheavals in the last two weeks. O Pannerselvam, Jayalalithaa's favority proxy, had quit as Chief Minister on February 3. But later he had alleged that he had been under pressure from Sasikala and her family to vacate the post for her. With OPS and Sasikala making claims of having majority support, the Governor refrained from calling either sides to prove their majority.

It was after the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Sasikala by a Special Court in Bangalore that Edappadi Palaniswami was chosen as the Legislative party leader of the AIADMK.

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