Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as the chief minister of residual Andhra Pradesh on Sunday evening — less than a week after K Chandrasekhar Rao took oath as the chief minister of Telangana.
TV channels reported that 19 ministers were also sworn in by governor ESL Narasimhan along with Naidu at a jam-packed public event in Nagarjuna Nagar, 18 kms from Vijaywada.
Naidu took the oath of office at 7:27pm, the auspicious "muhurtam (moment)" set for the occasion, in Telugu amid thunderous cheers by party workers.
The TDP leader is the first chief minister of residual Andhra Pradesh after the decades-old demand for Telangana state became a reality on June 2.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and M Venkaiah Naidu as well as the chief ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Nagaland attended the high-profile ceremony.
According to reports, the TDP has given two cabinet berths to ally BJP.
Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi and Telugu film stars Pawan Kalyan, NTR Junior and Kalyan Ram also attended the event.
Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, badminton star Pullela Gopichand, top industrialists such as G Mallikarjuna Rao of GMR Group and a host of other VIPs were also present on the occasion.
On the road to power, the TDP had bagged 102 seats in the 175-member Andhra Pradesh assembly in the recent elections, while ally BJP had won four seats.
Naidu, 64, had earlier served as the chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh from 1995 to 2004. He was the leader of opposition in the state for nearly a decade.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his best wishes to Naidu and assured him of "all possible help".
"As Chandrababu Naidu takes oath as CM of Andhra Pradesh this evening (Sunday), I convey my best wishes to him and his team in developing the state," Modi tweeted.
"The Centre is committed to extending all possible help to the people and government of Andhra Pradesh," he added.
Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa too extended her greetings to Naidu.
Residual Andhra will start its journey under Naidu with a deficit budget of about Rs 14, 500 crore.
For 10 years, Hyderabad will serve as the common capital for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Guntur or Vijayawada, two major towns separated by just 35kms, could be the next Andhra capital since Hyderabad will eventually go to Telangana.
Naidu's government will function from the old Andhra Pradesh assembly hall, while the present assembly hall has already been handed over to Telangana.