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Chief minister again, Jayalalithaa rolls out freebies

Monday May 16, 2011 09:48:04 PM, IANS

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Chennai: AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa Monday became Tamil Nadu's chief minister for the third time since 1991, and immediately unleashed a barrage of sops for women and others from the poor families.

Back at Fort St. George, which houses the government secretariat, one of her first decisions was to order 20 kg of free rice for the poor and 35 kg for the very poor through the public distribution system.

Jayalalithaa ordered that educated poor women be presented free four-gram gold 'mangalsutra' in addition to the Rs.25,000 marriage assistance which is now given.

She doubled the marriage assistance for women with degree or diploma to Rs.50,000, besides also gifting them free mangalsutra.

While pension for the old, destitute, widows and differently abled women has been doubled to Rs.1,000, compensation paid to fishermen during the 45-day fishing ban period has also been hiked.

Women in state government service will now get six months of maternity leave.

The actor-turned-politician was clearly giving a big Thank You to the mass of poor for giving a huge mandate to her AIADMK-led alliance, virtually crushing the DMK.

A new department to be headed by a minister was established to monitor the implementation of the promises made in the AIADMK manifesto.

Earlier, she was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Surjit Singh Barnala at the University Centenary Hall. She will head a 34-member government.

Barnala also administered oath to the council of ministers.

All those present at the event, including Jayalalithaa, had a hearty laugh when C. Karuppasamy took oath rhythmically in a loud voice as the minister for animal husbandry.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Communist leader A.B. Bardhan, DMDK leader A. Vijayakanth and many Tamil film personalities were among the VIPs at the event.

Outside, thousands lined up on both sides of the road starting from Jayalalithaa's residence at Poes Garden and along the entire stretch of Kamaraj Salai on the Marina till the Madras University campus.

Two giant screens were installed outside the venue so that people could view the swearing in ceremony.

The AIADMK-led front won 203 seats in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly. The AIADMK itself won 150 seats -- 146 on its own and four by smaller parties who fought under its election symbol.

Jayalalithaa first became chief minister in 1991, in the wake of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, and again 10 years later.



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