PTR may be divested of Finance; Thennarasu likely successor
Rumours of his ‘demotion’ did rounds to a feverish pitch after PTR was removed from the list of speakers for the “achievement rally”.
CHENNAI: Days after it put its weight behind state finance minister Palanivel Thiagarajan aka PTR, the DMK high command appears to have taken a dramatic U-turn in the eleventh hour.
The buzz on the corridors of power on Monday was that PTR could be divested of his finance portfolio and given a relatively small portfolio in the impending cabinet reshuffle. Rumours of his ‘demotion’ did rounds to a feverish pitch after PTR was removed from the list of speakers for the “achievement rally”. PTR was replaced with the vice-chairman of the State Planning Commission E Jeyaranjan to address the achievement rally at Simmakkal in the former’s native Madurai Sunday.
Meanwhile, PTR put up a brave face by posting a cordial message on his official Twitter handle about his “fruitful discussion on wide-ranging topics relating to the political economy of Tamil Nadu, including the importance of honing the implementation of the Dravidian model to democratise development,” with Jeyaranjan.
Government sources with knowledge of the cabinet reshuffle disclosed to DT Next that CM Stalin has picked incumbent Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu to replace PTR as the Finance Minister.
Sources also added that a slighted Palanivel Thiaga Rajan was unlikely to get the industries portfolio and he could be asked to step into the shoes of ‘outgoing’ Dairy Minister SM Nasar who is touted to be one of the casualties of the shake-up in the Cabinet.
Incumbent Adi Dravidar Minister Kayalvizhi Selvaraj could be replaced with Manamadurai MLA A Tamizharasi, edging out Sankarankoil MLA E Raja. “The high command does not want to drop PTR from the Cabinet. Hence, a smaller portfolio to show him his place. A strong censuring is expected by party insiders too.
The Chief Minister has not been a fan of PTR even earlier because his liaison with other Ministers was not amicable, a senior DMK leader reasoned, suggesting that the reshuffle would be a simple one. As things stand, Mannargudi MLA TRB Rajaa could be another newbie in the Cabinet post-reshuffle, which is expected to show the doors to current Tourism Minister Ramachandran from The Nilgiris.
If information spilling out of Fort St George is something to go by, the shake-up in the Cabinet could happen in a couple of days before state Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin is expected to fly overseas or after the Chief Minister’s return from his foreign tour commencing in the fourth week of this month.