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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2609

Tamil Nadu: Jayalalithaa returns as CM amid uncertainty as faulty HC judgment is likely to go Supreme Court!

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Chennai, 23 May, (

History repeats itself in Tamil Nadu politics, eminently controlled by cinema world. And, certainty turns uncertainty and vice versa as in films.

Nearly eight months after she was forced to quit over corruption charges, film star turned politician and the ruling AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was on 23rd May sworn in for the fifth time as Tamil Nadu chief minister along with 28 ministers. Her choice of date coincides with BJP party’s celebrations for completing one full year in power of India.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium in the presence of governor Rosaiah, film personalities, and cricket bosses, among other dignitaries.

Jayalalithaa was disqualified following her conviction in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case by a trial court in Bengaluru on September 27. The Karnataka High Court had subsequently acquitted her of the charges on May 11 this year. She is beaming that she was today sworn in for the fifth time as chief minister - a milestone in her political story- , nearly eight months after she was forced to quit over corruption charges.

Jayalalithaa has retained old faces when she was chief minister during 2011-14. This includes her trusted aide O Panneerselvam as Minister of Finance. Jayalalithaa will hold the portfolios of home, police, public, all India services, general administration and district revenue officers. (Tamilnadu has huge back money in active circulation and will she be able take action? Or, will she end corruption in government offices? )

One day earlier, O Panneerselvam quit as CM, making way for his “Amma” to resume power. An official Raj Bhavan release had said that on May 22 the TN Governor Rosaiah had approved the recommendation made by Selvi J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister-Designate regarding allocation of portfolios among the Council of Ministers.

Panneerselvam was sworn-in as Chief Minister on September 29 last year, two days after Jayalalithaa's conviction.

He had returned to the post for a second time after he was chosen by Jayalalithaa as her successor almost under similar circumstances in 2001 in the wake of her conviction in the TANSI case. Panneerselvam had resigned six months later in 2002, when she was acquitted by the apex court. His resignation today ended eight-month tenure.

Much before the AIADMK legislature meeting, party workers and supporters from all over the state had started gathering in huge numbers at Avvai Shanmugam Salai, the AIADMK headquarters. Before he announced his resignation as chief minister, Panneerselvam met Jayalalithaa briefly. Large hoardings hailing the party leader's return had been put up in several parts of the city. DMK leaders feel they have defeated their arch rival DMK by the court order.

Security men, who were perched on either side of her vehicle, and the police had a tough time preventing the crowd from coming too close to the cavalcade as a smiling Jayalalithaa accepted their greetings. Preparations have been afoot since Thursday to deck up the venue of the swearing-in ceremony. After her conviction, Jayalalithaa was automatically disqualified as an MLA. Recently, an MLA resigned from RK Nagar constituency in the city raising speculation that she may contest from there.

Even as AIADMK supremo the 67-year-old Jayalalithaa returned to power in Chennai for the fifth time 11 days after she was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in a disproportionate assets case, Congress party’s Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state law department is examining the judgment of the High Court which acquitted her of all charges and the government would take a decision on filing an appeal in the case after receiving the report.

Asked whether he has spoken to AICC in this regard, the chief minister said, "No, the High command is not at all interfering in the state matters".

Jayalalithaa knows too well that she is back to the Madras Fort office to rule Tamil Nadu anytime she may have to quit again as assets case would now go to Supreme Court since the Karnataka High Court judgment is faulty with wrong arithmetic and the judge himself has already admitted to have committed errors that he can correct if allowed.

Jayalalithaa’s return to power is significant because she has successfully pursued all tactics to get her 4 year jail term by influencing the judiciary with judge quashing the case once for all.

In taking over the reign in Chennai, Jayalalithaa’s calculations are clear: even if she has to quit again if Supreme court gives a verdict against her disproportionate assets, her brief tenure back as CM could help make the party ready with new vigor for state elections next year.

- Asian Tribune –

J Jayalalithaa taking oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in the centenary hall of the University of Madras
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah greets AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa at a meeting in Chennai on Friday.
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