Vaidyalingam sworn in Puducherry chief minister

September 4th, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Puducherry, Sep 4 (IANS) V. Vaidyalingam was sworn in as chief minister of this Union Territory Thursday by Lt. Governor Govind Singh Gurjar.Vaidyalingam heads a five-member cabinet whose members were also sworn in later.

He took over from former embattled chief minister N. Rangasamy, who submitted his resignation to Gurjar Thursday following a directive of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Vaidyalingam was minister for industries and power during Rangasamy’s regime.

While Raj Bhavan sources said the chief minister may take two days to finalise portfolios, a serious struggle was underway to get the home department.

Top sources in the Congress party said as a compromise, Vaidyalingam may allocate home department to E. Valsaraj and retain the industries portfolio.

On Monday, a majority of legislators of the ruling Congress expressed their wish to remove Rangasamy during separate meetings with senior party leader Vayalar Ravi, who announced that Sonia Gandhi had been empowered to take a decision on the matter.

The state secretary for the opposition AIADMK termed the jockeying for power as “a shameful exercise”.

“Obviously, the change of guard in the state has not resulted in political stability as the shameful exercise of wangling key portfolios indicates a pelf culture. Instead of allowing this wound to fester, the assembly should be dissolved and fresh elections ordered,” A. Anbazhagan, AIADMK legislator, told IANS.

Vaidyalingam, Valsaraj and M.O.H.F. Shahjahan were investigated by various agencies of the central and state governments in the past for various acts of omissions and commissions.

One of the members of the cabinet, M. Kandaswamy, had accused Vaidyalingam of attempting to bribe him in the 1990s when the latter was a mainstay in the Tamil Manila Congress. The resultant case was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

All of them, however, have since been acquitted of all charges.

“The solution to the Puducherry tangle after former chief minister N. Rangasamy became unacceptable to almost all members of the cabinet was mooted by our leadership in a goodwill gesture to the Congress leadership, assuring it of the continuing prestige of our party president ‘Kalaignar’ (M. Karunanidhi),” a top DMK leader told IANS from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, 180 km north of here.

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