Hours later, the Governor convened a special sitting of the State Assembly at 11 am on February 18 to enable the new CM to prove his majority.
Vidyasagar Rao administered the oath of office and secrecy in Tamil to Palanisamy first. The remaining 30 ministers were sworn in two groups of eight each and two groups of seven each. Palanisamy retained the portfolios of Home, Police, PWD, Public and Personnel and Highways and Minor Ports, Irrigation and Programme Works.
The Ministers continued to retain their old portfolios, the only change being, new entrant KA Sengottaiyan being given the School Education portfolio, held previously by K Pandiarajan who defected to the O Panneerselvam camp. The ceremony was held in the specially decked up hall in the Raj Bhavan. Palanisamy was given 15 days to prove his majority, Raj Bhavan officials said.
The day started with Edappadi being invited to the Raj Bhavan by Vidyasagar Rao in the morning around 11.30 am where he was invited to form the government. The swearing in was fixed for 4 pm and officialdom swung into action to decorate the hall and stage and to make the necessary arrangements.
Meanwhile, when party men staying at Koovathur got word that the governor had invited Edappadi Palanisamy to form the government, cadres present there started raising pro Sasikala and Edappadi slogans.
The MLAs were indoors at a strategy session chaired by Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai while Edappadi Palanisamy left for Chennai in a convoy of cars accompanied by nine supporters including Dindigul Srinivasan, KA Sengottaiyan, SP Velumani, P Thangamani, TTV Dhinakaran, D Jayakumar, CV Shanmugam, Dhalalvai Sundaram and KP Angalagan to meet the governor to keep the 11.30 am appointment.
The brief meeting with the governor resulted in Palanisamy being invited to form the government the same evening. On hearing this, MLAs stationed at Koovathur rushed to Chennai to attend the swearing in ceremony. After the swearing in ceremony was over, all ministers led by the CM made a beeline to late CM Jayalalithaa’s memorial on the Marina where all including party deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran, paid floral tributes and then prostrated before the grave. Floral tributes were paid to the huge portrait of Jayalalithaa at the memorial.
Later in the night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Edappadi K Palanisamy to congratulate him on taking over as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. “Spoke to Thiru Edappadi K Palanisamy & congratulated him on taking over as the CM of Tamil Nadu,” Modi tweeted.