Debating India

TAMIL NADU

Posters tease ex-AIADMK heavyweight

Wednesday 12 April 2006

CHENNAI, APRIL 11 : If senior AIADMK leader and state finance minister C Ponnaiyan is nursing a wound, after his removal as AIADMK presidium chairman and being denied a ticket for the Assembly election, then his party colleagues only seem to be rubbing salt into his wounds. A rash of posters have appeared on the street walls of Namakkal district, lampooning the minister, wondering where he had ??disappeared’’.

Authored by the AIADMK Paadukaapu Padai (AIADMK Protection Force), the posters reflect the cold attitude of not just Amma but her party cadres as well towards Ponnaiyan. When Jayalalithaa recently announced a new appointee, former Assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu, for the presidium post it was apparent that the minister had fallen from grace. Also Ponniayan’s name was not on the her list of 182 candidates for the election. This confirmed that the high command was nursing a grudge against him for some unknown misdemeanour.

The ??mischievous’’ posters across Namakkal and Tiruchengode towns yesterday announced the minister’s retirement from politics. Carrying Ponnaiyan’s picture, it read: ??Disappeared, 10 years minister under ?Puratchi Thalaivar’s (Revolutionary Leader, referring to MGR) rule, 13 years ?Vanavaas’ (when he had virtually retired from politics after MGR’s death), five years as minister, Ponniyan is not to be found’’.

It was from Tiruchengode constituency in Namakkal district that Ponnaiyan was first elected to the State Assembly in 1977, when the AIADMK, newly founded by M G Ramachandran, came to power. Ponnaiyan was the only MGR loyalist to have found a place in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet (2001-2006) after a 13-year-long retirement from politics. But the minister’s quiet attempts to retire again has been rudely disturbed by the posters.

See online : The Indian Express

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