Minister’s absence at Dist Secy meet triggers debate in DMK

Speculation is rife in the DMK circles that the abstention of a sulking IP was deliberate.
State Cooperatives Minister I Periasamy
State Cooperatives Minister I PeriasamyFile

CHENNAI: The absence of State Cooperatives Minister I Periasamy, who is also the deputy general secretary of the DMK, in Thursday’s meeting of party district secretaries has left tongues wagging in the ruling party.

Speculation is rife in the DMK circles that the abstention of a sulking IP was deliberate.

The Cooperative Minister, DMK sources disclosed, was unhappy over the party leadership not adequately reprimanding State Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan over his embarrassingly outspoken comments about the performance of the Cooperative Ministry.

Periasamy, one of the senior-most leaders within the first five ranks of the DMK, was upset that the high command was giving a long rope to the debutant finance minister despite his causing a great political embarrassment to the party and the government.

A DMK source unwilling to be quoted reasoned that it was barely a couple of months since the Chief Minister publicly appealed at the party general council to his ministers/seniors to be wary of their public statements/behaviour.

“The young minister has spoken in a way that gave fodder to the Opposition. Now, the rival AIADMK is quoting our minister to find fault with the government. The Chief Minister summoned PTR and cautioned him for his brazen violation. However, it was not sufficient to silence unrest within the party circles. After the PTR episode, it was not uncommon to hear second-rung leaders wonder if the high command would react the same way if other ministers started commenting badly about other minister’s performance in public, instead of airing their displeasure privately?” said the senior leader.

“More than the behaviour, the response from the leadership did not inspire confidence. Why the special concession to the young minister alone?” argued a district secretary on condition of anonymity.

That IP abstained from the crucial meeting and deputed his district secretary son I P Senthilkumar was sufficient to understand that his abstention was personal and intentional.

A few sceptics in the party also attributed larger political motives to the entire issue. A state-level leader reasoned that PTR was only the latest to take potshots at IP.

Not so long ago, even the senior most minister cum general secretary Duraimurugan had launched a veiled criticism at the same minister who has been complaining about the high command only allotting him a cooperative portfolio, which is riddled with controversies more than opportunities to shine.

The junior minister has publicly put down Periasamy close on the heels of the general secretary deriding him has left tongues wagging in Anna Arivalayam where the speculation is that the senior minister from Dindigul is being targeted by a few in the treasury benches.

Significantly, a few senior ministers have sided with IP and seized the opportunity to complain to chief minister M K Stalin about the candidness of the investment banker turned finance minister who has been facing flak from a few senior cabinet colleagues for not clearing their files in desired haste and raising unexpected queries.

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