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New chief of India’s southern state sworn-in

STORY: The interim general secretary of ruling regional Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, Edappadi K. Palanisami, was sworn in as the 29th chief of India’s southern Tamil Nadu state on Thursday (February 16), ending days of political uncertainty.

Palanisami was appointed legislative party leader on Wednesday (February 15) by V.K. Sasikala, the advisor to former chief late Jayaram Jayalalithaa, hours before she surrendered before a court in Bengaluru city following her conviction in a graft case.

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao also administered the oath to a 30-member cabinet of Palanisami at the ceremony.

The governor, however, asked Palanisami to prove his majority within 15 days.

Rao’s invitation comes as a shot in the arm for the Sasikala-led faction, embroiled in a bitter power struggle with Tamil Nadu’s caretaker Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam.

Sasikala had mounted a bid to oust Paneerselvam, corralling lawmakers from their AIADMK party into a resort hotel in an attempt to stop them from defecting to her opponent’s camp.

Supporters of AIADMK distributed sweets outside the Golden bay resort.

The power struggle in the state of more than 70 million people has attracted foreign auto makers and consumer electronics firms and comes amid rising social unrest that raised doubts over its attractiveness as a place to do business.

Known as the “Detroit of Asia”, Tamil Nadu is India’s second-largest manufacturing state. It hosts automakers including BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault.

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