Chennai: Shortly after taking over as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa on Monday implemented her major poll promises of rice to ration card holders and BPL families, gold for mangalsutra for girls getting married and carried out a major shake-up in the state police set-up.

Jayalalithaa, who said she was serious in fulfilling the poll promises, has created a new ministry 'Special Programme Implementation' for this.

She ordered distribution of 20 kg free rice per month to ration card holders and 35kg of rice to BPL families.

Old-age pension has been doubled from Rs.500, maternity leave for government staff hiked to six months from three months and financial assistance to fishermen during fishing ban period raised from Rs,1,000 to Rs.2,000 as Jayalalithaa signed relevant files soon after being sworn in.

She also hiked the marriage assistance for poor people from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000.

In a war of freebies, both AIADMK and DMK had announced a slew of populist measures in their manifestos ranging from providing rice to mixers and mineral water and laptops.

Apart from implementation of poll pledges, she effected appointed J K Tripathy as Chennai city Police Commissioner, shunting out incumbent T Rajendran.

Jayalalithaa takes oath

Actor-turned politician Jayalalithaa was on Monday sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the third time. She took oath along with 33 other cabinet colleagues.

The swearing-in ceremony of the 63-year-old leader took place at the historic Madras University's centenary auditorium at 12.15 pm. Some of the prominent guests at the ceremony included Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and CPI general secretary A B Bardhan.

In keeping with Tamil Nadu's political practice, it is a single-party government despite AIADMK winning the elections in alliance with some other parties.
 
While 25 of the 34 members sworn-in are youngsters and new faces, it also include veterans like O Pannerselvam who was chief minister for a short time in 2001 when she could not assume the post because of legal problems. He will hold Finance now.

The other old-timers include K A Sengottaiyan (Agriculture). However, other stalwarts including Jaya Kumar and Valarmathi do not find a place in the Cabinet.

Jayalalithaa steered the AIADMK alliance to a spectacular victory in the elections by winning 200 of the total 234 seats.

After meeting the Governor on Saturday, the AIADMK chief had said her immediate priorities as Chief Minister would be to restore law and order and economy of the state "which has derailed" and control prices.

"It is almost like having gone back to dark ages," said Jayalalilthaa, who had earlier ruled the state in 1991-96 and 2001-06, adding the state had to be brought back to the path of growth, development and prosperity.

Narendra Modi who was present at the oath-taking ceremony also hailed AIADMK's victory in the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, saying that the party's win "will influence national politics in the fight against corruption".

Iron lady makes her way to CM seat

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who steered her party-led front to a spectacular win inflicting a crushing defeat on DMK in the assembly polls, proved her mettle by roping in smaller parties and caste-based outfits to assume the reins of government for the third time.

Jayalalithaa was earlier Chief Minister during 1991-96 and 2001-06.

Affectionately called 'Amma', the 63-year-old Chief Minister was very particular this time in not letting the anti-DMK votes get split and went out of her way to make room for allies.

AIADMK was not at best of terms with actor-politician Vijayakant, whose DMDK was widely seen as splitting the anti-DMK votes in the 2006 Assembly and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but Jayalalithaa reached out to him and made him join her front to ensure DMK's ouster.

Jayalalithaa, a leading actress before joining politics, took the lead in stitching a formidable alliance with DMDK, Left parties and some other minor political parties and announcing party candidates when the DMK-led front was still grappling with seat-sharing talks with its ally Congress.

Known for taking hard and tough decisions either in government or in party affairs, Jayalalithaa is described as ‘iron lady’ and ‘Margaret Thatcher of Tamil Nadu’ by her followers.

Brought to public life by her mentor and AIADMK founder late M G Ramachandran to help her overcome the loss of her mother Sandhya, Jayalalithaa was first appointed a member of the nutritious noon meal scheme monitoring committee in 1982.

She was chosen Rajya Sabha member as the AIADMK's representative the same year after which she never looked back.

However, Jayalalithaa was removed as the AIADMK Propaganda Secretary by MGR in 1987, when he also sacked senior leader S D Somasundram from the party for anti-party activities.

Born to Sandhya and Jayaraman in Mysore, Jayalalithaa had her education at the Church Park Covent here and at the age of 15, she took to acting to support her family.

Making her film debut in well-known Director Sridhar's ‘Venniraadai’, she acted in more than 300 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi in a career spanning three decades.

She had paired with all top heroes including her mentor MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, but most of her films were with MGR.

When MGR was busy with governmental work, he wanted somebody to interact with the party cadre on his behalf and chose Jayalalithaa and made her party's propaganda secretary.

But MGR's move drew protests from the then party stalwarts like R M Veerappan and late S D Somasundram, who, however, later turned her followers when she first became Chief Minister in 1991.

Riding on a sympathy wave generated by the assassination of Indira Gandhi and illness of MGR, Jayalalithaa, even without being asked by party seniors, jumped into electioneering for the AIADMK-Congress alliance in the 1984 assembly polls.

She was the star campaigner for the party then as MGR was flown to the United States for treatment. When MGR died in 1987, his wife Janaki became the chief minister for a brief period.

Claiming she was MGR's true political heir, Jayalalithaa split the party. In the then assembly election, her faction won 23 seats, while that of Janaki just one seat.

In the 1991 election, AIADMK and Congress forged an alliance. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi midway through the polls resulted in a sympathy wave for the Congress and anger against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which was considered a supporter of the LTTE.

After she became the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's demand for a ban on LTTE was accepted by the Centre and she dealt with the law and order problems then with an iron hand.

Known for her pro-Hindutva leanings, Jayalalithaa was one of the few political leaders barring the BJP and Shiv Sena to openly support Kar Seva at Ayodhya.

Her first tenure as Chief Minister was marred by controversies, first when she conducted her foster son V N Sudhkaran's marriage extravagantly, then later when she accused the then prime minister P V Narashmiha Rao of being 'inept'.

But in 2001, she returned to power in Tamil Nadu and almost immediately began making overtures to the BJP, much to the discomfiture of its allies. That tenure was also marred with controversy, when she sacked over one lakh government employees over night for their participation in a strike.

In the April 13 Assembly polls, the AIADMK combine won 200 of the 234 assembly seats with the party alone garnering 150 seats.

(JPN/Agencies)