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Reporter’s diary: Can outreach save Health Minister from gutkha, I-T heat?
The State will go to Assembly polls only after more than a year. But Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijaya Baskar already seems to be in electioneering mode.
Vijaya Baskar, who was embroiled in controversies surround the infamous gutkha scam in which bribes were allegedly paid to him and several senior officials, and was also raided by the Income Tax in the run-up to the RK Nagar Assembly bypoll in 2017, is keenly working towards an image makeover among the voters in his native Pudukkottai. He has already hit the ground, and is actively promoting the outreach efforts through social media.
While it is normal for all Ministers to share information of the events and functions they attend in connection with their department or the party, the Health Minister’s social media pages share the information about his grassroots connections. Apart from his official and party meetings updates, Vijaya Baskar actively shares stories of him, like rescuing road accident victims, meeting with a school teacher, and interactions with all and sundry. During the recent rural local body polls campaign, he shared a picture of his morning cycle ride in his village (clad in lungi and t-shirt) and interacting with the people.
However, rumours surface every now and then about the imminent action against him by the CBI on the gutkha scam and the I-T department, which could cost him the state cabinet berth. But Vijaya Baskar seems to be undaunted, clearly getting ready for the 2021 State Assembly polls.