MADRAS, India, Jan. 7,Reuter; The widow of Indian film star politician M.G. Ramachandran was sworn in on Thursday to succeed him as Chief Minister of the Southern State of Tamil Nadu.

But Janaki Ramachandran and her seven man interim Cabinet have only three weeks to prove she can command a majority in the State Assembly, and her tenure is bitterly opposed by her late husband’s former leading lady and close companion, who claims to be general secretary of the party he founded,

Tamil Nadu, on India’s southeastern tip, is home to 50 million ethnic Tamils and is a key factor in the search for peace in nearby Sri Lanka.

MGR. as he was known to millions of fans, died on December 24 after fuling the State for the past decade, He was one of the few figures with access both to the New Delhi government and to the militant Tamil leaders battling an Indian peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka,

The new administration’s policy on the issue has not yet been revealed. But whatever it is, Janaki Ramachandran faces formidable opposition from Jayalalitha, a former actress brought into politics by MGR.

Jayalalitha wrote to State Goyernor, S.L. Khurana on Wednesday describing his invitation to Janaki to form a government “against all norms of democracy and unconstitutional”.

She said the caretaker government formed after MGR’s death and headed by Senior Minister V.R. Nedunchezhiyan could command a majority, and demanded that the State Assembly be dissolved or suspended pending new elections.

Janaki’s own views on the Sri Lanka question are not known, but her close advisors include former Minister K, Kalimuthu, who was disowned by MGR last year he referred to the Indian peacekeeping force a “Peace Killing Force”.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 15, 1988