DMK’s youth wing leader and MLA, Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency, Udhayanidhi Stalin, was sworn in as a Minister in the Tamil Nadu Cabinet on Wednesday. Mr. Udhayanidhi, who has been allotted the portfolio of Youth Welfare and Sports Development, said his priority was to make Tamil Nadu a sports destination.
Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi administered the oath of office to Mr. Udhayanidhi on Wednesday morning, at the Raj Bhavan, in an event attended by Mr. Udhayanidhi’s father and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, Cabinet colleagues, officials and others
With his induction, Tamil Nadu’s Cabinet’s strength increased from 34 to 35 and Mr. Udhayanidhi occupies the 10th position.
Elected from Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency, this first-time MLA has been allotted the portfolios of Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Special Programme Implementation as well as the Poverty Alleviation Programme and Rural Indebtedness.
‘Priority is to make T.N. a sports capital’
Addressing journalists at Chennai, the newest Minister said his priority was to make Tamil Nadu a sports capital.
“I have an idea of converting Tamil Nadu into a sports destination. We have also promised in our election manifesto that there would be mini stadiums in every Assembly constituency. I have to speed up work to fulfil this promise. We will encourage all sportspersons and expand sports activities,” he said.
‘Mamannan was last film’
Mr. Udhayanidhi, who was a film producer and distributor and later took to acting, made it clear that ‘Maamannan,’ directed by Mari Selvaraj, was his last film. “I was supposed to act in a movie to be produced by Kamal Haasan. When I told him about my decision [not to act in it], he blessed me,” he said.
Asked whether it was a big moment for him and his family, Mr. Udhayanidhi said it was actually a huge responsibility. “I had a huge responsibility as the youth wing leader of the party as well. I will try to fulfil my responsibilities,” he said.
To a question about the charge of the DMK promoting dynastic politics, he said: “There was criticism even when I was appointed as the secretary of the youth wing and later became an MLA. Even then, I said it was inevitable. Certainly, there will be criticism now. I will respond to it only through my performance. I will fulfill my responsibilities with the support of the Chief Minister, officials, party leaders and cadre,” he added.
Later in a statement, he said the Chief Minister had given him an opportunity to join the Cabinet after he organised protests against NEET, desilted waterbodies, enrolled 25 lakh youth wing members in the party, did fieldwork during the COVID-19 pandemic and distributed essentials to the people.
He said his only regret was that he missed his grandfather and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, and the late general secretary of the party, K. Anbazhagan.
Second cabinet reshuffle of DMK government
The portfolios and subjects handled by 10 Ministers in the State Cabinet have been changed. A press release from the Raj Bhavan said Governor R.N. Ravi had approved the changes based on Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s recommendation.
I. Periyasamy, Minister for Co-operation, has been made Minister for Rural Development. The portfolio was earlier held by K.R. Periyakaruppan, who has been re-designated as Minister for Co-operation.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P.K. Sekarbabu has been given an additional charge of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). The subject was earlier handled by K. Muthusamy, Minister for Housing and Urban Development.
K. Ramachandran, Minister for Forests, has been re-designated as Minister for Tourism, while the forest portfolio has gone to M. Mathiventhan, who earlier functioned as the Minister for Tourism.
R.S. Rajakannappan, Minister for Backward Classes Welfare, will handle additional subjects such as the Khadi and Village Industries Board. They were earlier handled by R. Gandhi, Minister for Handloom and Textiles.
As the subjects of Youth Welfare and Sports Development have been allotted to Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin, Siva V. Meyyanathan, who handled them earlier, has been re-designated as Minister for Environment and Climate Change.
Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management, has been given the additional subjects of pensions, pensionary benefits and statistics.
The list of changes can be accessed here.