DMK chief MK Stalin has been sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, along with 33 members of his cabinet, at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai by Governor Banwarilal Purohit this morning.
Mr Stalin has also been sworn in as Home Minister and will hold a number of other portfolios, including those relating to administrative and police services, special programmes and the welfare of differently abled persons,
Mr Stalin, for whom this will be a first term in the top post, takes charge as the state battles a severe second Covid wave; on Thursday Tamil Nadu reported over 23,000 new cases to take its active caseload to over 1.3 lakh.
The number of cases had spiked during campaigning for the April 6 election, as all major parties held rallies at which social distancing was absent, leading to sharp rebukes from the Madras High Court.
Containing the virus and leading the state’s recovery will be among his biggest challenges.
The new Water Resources Minister is veteran DMK leader Duraimurugan, who is a former minister and a six-time MLA from Katpadi in Vellore district.
The post is a critical one for a state that frequently suffers from drought.
The Finance portfolio – another critical post – has been given to Palanivel Thiagarajan, a former investment banker who worked in the United States.
S Regupathy has been given the Law Ministry, Thangam Thennarasu the Industries portfolio, K Ponmudi will be Higher Education Minister, EV Velu will head Public Works and S Muthusamy will be the Housing and Urban Development Minister.
The new Chief Minister has also made changes to the names of several ministries. He has not given his son Udhayanidhi Stalin – who won from Chennai’s Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat – a berth.
The Health Department has become Medical and Family Welfare and is to be led by MA Subramanian, who was elected from Chennai’s Saidapet and is the city’s former Mayor.
The Agriculture Ministry has become the Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ministry and will be led by MRK Panneerselvam, a five-term MLA from Kurinjipadi in Cuddalore district.
The Environment Ministry – to be headed by Siva V Meyyanathan, who was elected from the Alangudi constituency in Pudukkottai district – will now be Environment – Climate Change Ministry.
The Labour Welfare Ministry is now Labour Welfare and Skill Development and will be led by Tittakudi MLA CV Ganesan.
The NRI Department is now Non-Resident Tamils’ Welfare and has been given to Gingee KS Masthan, who has also got Minorities Welfare, Refugees and Evacuees, and the Wakf Board.
The Fisheries Ministry has been renamed Fisheries and Fisherfolk Welfare, will be led by Anitha R Radhakrishnan, the MLA from Thoothukudi district’s Thiruchendur, who also got Animal Husbandry.
Personnel and Administrative Reforms has become Human Resources Management, and will be led by Palanivel Thiagarajan, who is the MLA from Madurai (central).
Information and Public Relations has become Information Ministry, and has been given to T Mano Thangaraj, who was elected from Kanyakumar’s Padmanabhapuram seat.
The DMK, which led an alliance that included the Congress, swept the April 6 election, winning 159 of 234 seats. The AIADMK, which was in power, had allied with the BJP but secured only 75 seats.
The DMK’s victory restored the southern state’s tradition of alternating between the two major state parties every five years, after giving the AIADMK two consecutive terms.