Madurai

The fall of a vocal Minister, who won enmity around

K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji  

Virudhunagar

He rose from a humble background and went on to become a Minister, not once but twice and also became Virudhunagar district secretary of AIADMK in the last 10 years.

But, after having earned enmity all around, Minister for Dairy Development K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji lost to sitting MLA from Rajapalayam S. Thangapandian with a margin of 3,789 votes. Mr. Bhalaji became popular among the people with his frequent controversial comments on various issues after the demise of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

He was seen very close to the BJP after he first said “Modi is our daddy” in the run-up to 2019 Parliamentary elections. Since then he started to make caustic remarks against his political opponents. Some of his remarks against the minorities during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act did not go well even with his party leadership.

Subsequently, he was relieved from his party post. However, later he was made the party secretary of West Virudhunagar district unit after its bifurcation.

The Opposition accused him of attack on a journalist and amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, for which he is facing a case in the High Court.

However, when he developed enmity with his party MLA M.S.R. Rajavarman, several of his party men started complaining against him for bad mouthing and high-handedness. Mr. Rajavarman even complained that the Minister had threatened him with dire consequences.

After Mr. Rajavarman vowed that his supporters would ensure the defeat of the Minister, Mr. Bhalaji switched to Rajapalayam Assembly constituency from Sivakasi, from where he had won twice.

In the run-up to the election, some of his loyalists and party men left the AIADMK complaining against the Minister’s rude behaviour. They said Mr. Bhalaji was not allowing any party men to grow fearing that they would challenge his position in the party.

“It was Mr. Bhalaji who denied seat to former MP T. Radhakrishnan and sitting MLA M. Chandraprabha (Srivilliputtur), who had remained with him all along,” a former MLA said.

DMK cadres were also bent upon defeating Mr. Bhalaji after his “derogatory” remarks against their party president M.K. Stalin. Mr. Bhalaji mentioned that all DMK leaders were campaigning in Rajapalayam with an aim to defeat him.

After having claimed that he was behind all the development works taken up in Rajapalayam all these years, Mr. Bhalaji sought votes for the overall development of the constituency. But, his words failed to win the confidence of the voters.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 10:28:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/the-fall-of-a-vocal-minister-who-won-enmity-around/article34466331.ece

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