Tamil Nadu

CM attracts both brickbats and bouquets

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in four days, has handled two complex and sensitive caste-related demands, attracting both bouquets and brickbats.

In the face of the PMK’s agitation for 20% internal reservation for Vanniyars, which saw sporadic violence, he announced that his government would establish an exclusive commission to gather the latest data on castes. Next, he responded to another sensitive demand from Puthiya Tamilagam, and a few other groups, saying the government would recommend to the Centre the grouping of seven Scheduled Castes, under the generic name of “Devendra Kula Vellalars”.

The PMK, however, has expressed dissatisfaction. Its founder, S. Ramadoss, recalled that in the last one year or so, his party had been pursuing the matter with the Chief Minister. C.N. Ramamurthy, leader of the Vanniyar Federation, questioned the purposefulness of getting the matter examined by a separate body, as recommendations of the Sattanathan and Ambasankar Commissions, of the 1970s and 1980s, had remained largely unimplemented.

As for the move on “Devendra Kula Vellalars,” B. Manickam Tagore, Virudhunagar Member of Parliament, said the Chief Minister had made the announcement under pressure. A few weeks ago, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawaarchand Gehlot, in response to his reference in the Parliament, in September, on the issue, had said that any modification to the list of SCs, in relation to a State or a Union Territory, could be made only by an Act of the Parliament.

M. Bharathan, State organiser of the Ambedkar Kalvi Centenary Movement, felt that the government, while pursuing the issue with the Centre, could have followed the example set by the Jayalalithaa regime in the mid-1990s, by issuing an order that brought all sub-castes of Mukkolathor under the generic name of “Thevar”, without disturbing the arrangement on concessions.

However, R.B. Udhayakumar, Revenue Minister, rebutted the charge. “Our government’s approach is to respond to any issue of public importance, expeditiously, within the parameters of law, while taking into account sentiments of the people. This is what we have done in these instances too. Besides, the Chief Minister’s style of functioning is to act and thrash out, swiftly, the issues that are brought before him. In fact, he should be commended. So, there is no question of resorting to delaying tactics on our part,” he said.

Welcoming the move, V. Kamaraja, founder-president, Devendra Kulla Mallar Chamber of Commerce, and one of those following up the matter with the State and Central governments, expressed hope that the Centre would give its clearance, immediately, after the State sends its proposal.

G. Palanithurai, academician, said the Chief Minister’s approach to several public issues was one of avoiding confrontation and not remaining inflexible. This had been illustrated in the two issues too, even though the academician said the government’s steps did not hold much significance beyond considerations of electoral politics.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:55:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cm-attracts-both-brickbats-and-bouquets/article33261093.ece

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