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    Rangasamy sworn in as Puducherry CM

    Puducherry: N Rangasamy, who ended the reign of his former party Congress in a stunning electoral debut for his outfit, was on Monday sworn in as Chief Minister of Puducherry for a third term.

    61-year old Rangasamy, chief of All India NR Congress, was administered oath of office by Lt Governor Iqbal Singh at the Raj Nivas here, making him the 18th Chief Minister of the tiny Union Territory.

    No other minister was sworn in along with Rangasamy who had earlier headed Congress Governments from 2001-06 and 2006-08 when he was unceremoniously removed by the party high command following a revolt by his cabinet colleagues.

    Taking a sweet revenge on Congress, Rangasamy, who broke ranks with the party a few months before the polls and floated his own party, which on its own bagged 15 seats. Its ally AIADMK won five seats to give a two-thirds majority to the combine in the 30-member Assembly.

    Congress could win only seven seats and its ally DMK two. Independent MLA V M C Sivakumar, a DMK rebel, has extended his support to AINRC, enabling it command a simple majority of 16 in the assembly.

    Accompanied by party MLAs, he met Singh at Raj Nivas and handed over the letter signed by the legislators electing him as their leader. Independent MLA V M C Sivakumar, who also accompanied him, gave a letter extending support to AINRC, the officials said.

    With the support of Sivakumar, a rebel DMK man, the AINRC would command a simple majority of 16 in the 30-member House. Being a Union Territory, the Lt Governor has forwarded Rangasamy's letter staking claim to form government to the Home Ministry for clearance, the officials said, adding it was only a formality?

    Rangasamy was evasive to questions by reporters whether it would be single party rule by AINRC or a coalition with the AIADMK sharing power.

    "We will form the government with the full support of the AIADMK," he said but did not elaborate.

    Rangasamy, who won from both seats he contested, said his government would fulfill all promises made in the AINRC manifesto. The special component plan meant for the Scheduled Castes would be implemented in letter and spirit.

    He thanked AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who had named him Chief Ministerial candidate of the front during the campaign and leaders of other allies who had worked hard for the victory of the combine.

    Nicknamed 'Junior Kamaraj' for his simple living, Rangasamy used to ride a bike rather than travel in a car even when he was Chief Minister and was credited with launching a slew of developmental projects and free breakfast scheme for school children in Puducherry in his seven-year stint at the helm.