India

Jayalalitha sworn in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Ms Jayalalitha arrives for her swearing in ceremony to become chief minister of Tamil Nadu Image copyright AFP
Image caption An appeals court cleared Ms Jayalalitha of corruption charges last week, paving the way for a political comeback

Jayaram Jayalalitha has been sworn in as the chief minister of the Indian state Tamil Nadu, less than a fortnight after being cleared of corruption.

The politician, who has served as chief minister four times before, was cheered by supporters as she travelled to the swearing-in ceremony in the state capital, Chennai (Madras).

A court sentenced Ms Jayalalitha to four years for corruption last year.

But an appeals court overruled this, allowing her to return to politics.

As she arrived at Madras University to take oath on Saturday, Ms Jayalalitha was cheered by a large crowd.

The colourful politician has been a leading figure in south Indian politics for three decades.

'Amma is back'

The former film actress enjoys enormous popularity in Tamil Nadu, where fans know her simply as "Amma" or mother.

Dressed in an emerald green sari, she took the oath in Tamil while her 28 cabinet ministers stood behind her.

Hundreds of supporters held up her photo and danced to the chant, "Amma is back".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jayalalitha has been a prominent figure for years, acquiring a reputation for enjoying a lavish lifestyle

Ms Jayalalitha's political return comes after she was convicted and sentenced for four years by a trial court last September.

She was found guilty of amassing unaccounted-for wealth of more than $10m (£6.4m) and had to quit as the chief minister.

The appeals court ruling earlier this month paved the way for her returning as the head of Tamil Nadu government.

On Friday morning, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah's office said in a statement that Mr O Panneerselvam, party leader and loyalist who headed the government in her absence, resigned along with his cabinet ministers.

The governor accepted the resignations and invited Ms Jayalalitha to form a government "at the earliest", the statement added.


Jayalalitha: Mercurial personality

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Former actress who appeared in more than 100 films
  • Chief minister of Tamil Nadu on four occasions - from 1991-96, briefly in 2011, 2002-06 and 2011-14
  • Has alternated in power with her great rival, 90-year-old DMK party leader M Karunanidhi
  • Feted by various Indian prime ministers over the last 20 years trying to win her support
  • Critics accuse her of establishing a personality cult, but supporters praise her poverty relief efforts
  • Known for her extravagant lifestyle - police once discovered more than 10,000 saris and 750 pairs of shoes in a raid on her premises

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