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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has quietly changed the portfolios of some of his ministers, indicating his disappointment over their performance.

Stalin is said to have observed that only Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu, Health Minister Ma Subramanian, HR&CE Minister P K Sekar Babu and Information Minister M P Saminathan have been working in an efficient manner. Others have not shown the speed and alacrity expected of them.

Stalin’s approach is different from that of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa who rang in frequent changes in the cabinet. Jayalalithaa used to often do away with ministers who failed to deliver promptly or who deviated from the instructions given by herself or her confidante Sasikala. But Stalin has not taken recourse to dropping ministers so far. The closest he has come to an admonishment is in the form of the portfolio changes he made on January 12, 2022, which till now has gone largely unnoticed.

The portfolio changes have sent a silent message to Stalin’s team to perform or perish. It is bound to keep even senior ministers on their toes, and force them to step up the pace and quality of governance.

Airports development has been shifted from Transport Minister R S Rajakannappan to Thangam Thennarasu, who is in charge of Industries. But sugarcane development, which too Thennarasu was in charge of, has now been brought under Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam. This, however, was not meant to be a comment on Thennarasu’s performance, say sources. The thinking was that sugarcane development just fits more appropriately into the agriculture ministry, rather than industries.

Overseas Manpower Corporation Limited development will now be looked after by K S Masthan, who is in charge of minorities welfare and non-resident Tamils’ welfare. Labour Minister CV Ganesan was formerly in charge of OMC.

The portfolio changes have not been dramatic or earth-shaking but have sent a silent message to Stalin’s team to perform or perish. The shock treatment is bound to keep even senior ministers on their toes, and force them to step up the pace and quality of governance.

Elections to the urban local bodies are round the corner. Stalin expects all the ministers to work overtime to ensure a sweep in all the districts and decimate the opposition.

Stalin has been making a point or two about the need to be proactive. His nocturnal visits to check the quality of roads being laid in Chennai, his unscheduled stops on the arterial Anna Salai to distribute masks to citizens found on the road or at bus stops without the protective gear, and also his trips to hospitals in different parts of the State to ensure vigil against Covid-19 and its variants—all these are in sharp contrast to the lethargy shown by some of his ministers.

Elections to the urban local bodies are round the corner. Stalin expects all the ministers to work overtime to ensure a sweep in all the districts and decimate the opposition. Once these elections are over, in a few months from now, Stalin could be expected to go in for an overhaul of the ministry. This exercise would take into account the performance of the ministers in their official capacity as well as their party work during the polls.


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