In the DMK, nephews and sons-in-law seem to enjoy the confidence of party leaders rather than their sons. So deep was the relationship between M. Karunanidhi and his nephew, late Murasoli Maran, that the party president described him as the “pupil of my eyes.”
In the case of party treasurer M.K. Stalin, his son-in-law Sabareesan has proved to be a political animal, while his son Udhayanidhi is interested in acting and film production. Sabareesan has Mr. Stalin’s ears and holds sway over his decision-making. A typical backroom boy, he follows Mr. Stalin like a shadow, pulls the strings and is in touch with bigwigs, much to the consternation of partymen
Contrary to the speculation that a major reshuffle of top bureaucrats was on the cards, the transfers came as an anti-climax, except that of U. Sagayam, the 52-year-old officer of the 2001 batch. His exit from Co-optex after a two-year stint triggered reports in a section of the media about his differences with Handloom Minister Gokula Indira. The Minister has made it clear that she had no role in his transfer.
According to Co-optex officials, several issues led to his removal, the chief being his determination to hold on to a show room at Kallakurichi.
The showroom was run by Co-optex for 62 years in the same building. When the owner decided to demolish the old building and construct a new one, he promised Co-optex a new shop with more space. An agreement was also signed. When the building was completed, Co-optex was denied space, and the shop was put up for auction. The shop manager was instructed to participate in the auction. On his way, he was attacked. On Mr. Sagayam’s instructions, he filed a police complaint. Within weeks, he was forced to withdraw the complaint as it went against some ruling partymen, Co-optex sources say.
The genesis of the latest transfer goes back to that development.
University teachers may launch an indefinite strike later this month as their demands had fallen on deaf years. Who is to be blamed? “Our agitations could have been avoided had the Higher Education Secretary taken his job seriously,” says M. Ravichandran, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers (AUT).
Last week, the teachers picketed for four days in Chennai to highlight their demands. All that they could achieve was a meeting with Higher Education Minister P. Palaniappan, who asked them to meet the Higher Education Secretary.
When they expressed their inability to get even an appointment despite several letters, the Minister told them that he would summon the Secretary for the meeting. “We have no idea whom we should meet to resolve the issues,” another AUT office-bearer said.
AUT members say the Secretary, who is expected to participate at the syndicate meetings of universities, has stayed away, especially if they are outside Chennai. The Secretary could make a difference as he will check maladministration by university officials and the affiliated colleges. Their wait for an appointment with the Secretary continues.
It is election time again. The entire city of Coimbatore is bustling with activity, with the tempo of the campaigning going up by a few decibels every day. For the mayoral election, more than a dozen Ministers, led by none other than Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s trusted lieutenant O. Panneerselvam, are camping to ensure the AIADMK’s victory. While the streets are busy with the sound and colour of the polls, the official corridors have fallen silent. The already reluctant bureaucrats take cover under the code of conduct and refuse to give out any information.
( Reporting by B. Kolappan, R. Sujatha and R. Sairam )