Complaining of long-standing neglect by the DMK in his native district of Tiruchi, ‘Pulavar’ B.M. Senguttuvan, who was Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments and Animal Husbandry in the DMK government during 1996-2001, on Monday joined the AIADMK.
Mr. Senguttuvan, who called on Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa, later told The Hindu that the DMK had been neglecting him since the 2006 Assembly elections. “[DMK treasurer] M.K. Stalin, under the influence of the DMK Tiruchi district secretary K.N. Nehru, had refused to meet me,” said the former Minister, who had the distinction of being the only DMK nominee to emerge victorious in the Marungapuri constituency [which was in 1996].
In the May 2001 Assembly poll, Mr. Senguttuvan lost to the AIADMK’s V.A. Chelliah by over 25,000 votes. Five years later, he was not re-nominated. Instead, poet Salma was given the party ticket. At a time when the DMK captured power, Ms. Salma lost to the AIADMK’s C. Chinnasamy. “I was wrongly blamed for her defeat,” he contended.
[Subsequent to the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies five years ago, Marungapuri was abolished and became part of Manaparai.]
Another veteran who joined the party was K. Soundararajan, who represented the Tiruchi –II Assembly constituency twice – 1977 and 1980 – as the AIADMK candidate. In 1984 after the then Revenue Minister S.D. Somasundaram [popularly called SDS] left the Cabinet and the party, Mr Soundararajan too quit the party and he became a member of the Namadhu Kazhagam. “After SDS returned to the AIADMK some years later, he had invited me to come back but I declined. A few months ago, I wrote a letter to Amma [Ms Jayalalithaa], requesting her to take me back,” recounted Mr. Soundararajan, who is aged 75.
Among those who joined the party were Fathima Babu and Nirmala Periyasamy, both TV personalities in the Tamil segment. Later in the day, Ms. Jayalalithaa, in a release, announced that the two women had been made platform speakers of the party.