Jaya drops 2 key ministers from Cabinet

A sudden Cabinet reshuffle came as a dramatic culmination of the 63rd Republic Day celebrations in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, with the AIADMK Supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalitha dropping two of her key Ministers and inducting two others in their place.

In the fifth Cabinet change since she came back to power in May last, Jayalalitha on Thursday night dropped Minister for School Education, ‘Agri’ S S Krishnamoorthy, and the Revenue Minister, S P Velumani from her Council of Ministers.

Governor Dr K Rosiah, barely an hour after he hosted the customary reception to the Chief Minister and her Cabinet Ministers on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan Thursday evening, announced the Cabinet changes.  Jayalalitha attended the reception when apparently Amma had recommended the changes.

Earlier in the day, Dr Rosiah unfurled the National Flag on the Marina Beach and witnessed an impressive march-past and cultural pageantry. The chief minister presented the various bravery awards on the occasion. 

However, this year’s Republic Day celebration in Tamil Nadu is more likely to be remembered for the dramatic Cabinet reshuffle that came later.

Jayalalitha has now made N R Sivapathy the new Minister for School Education, with his other portfolios including Archaeology, Sports and Youth Welfare, Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture. ‘Amma’ also inducted a new face, Mukkur N Subramanian and designated him as the new ‘Information Technology’ Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The Revenue portfolio along with some others, held by S P Velumani, has been entrusted to the veteran Minister K A Sengottaiyan. The Governor has accepted the chief minister’s recommendations and accordingly effected the changes, a Raj Bhavan communiqué said. The swearing-in of the new Ministers has been fixed for Friday evening.

Barely a week back, on January 18, Jayalalitha had effected a minor reshuffle in her Cabinet, to mainly swap the portfolios of ‘Agri’ S S Krishnamoorthy and C Ve Shanmugham. In that process, S P Velumani was also entrusted with the Revenue portfolio.

Political circles see this as part of a larger restructuring exercise Jayalalithaa has earnestly undertaken, both in the government and in the party, to sideline non-performers as well as those close to her former confidante Sasikala Natarajan, whom she had expelled from the AIADMK in December last along with 15 of her family members.

There was also an unseemly touch to the R-day celebrations in Tamil Nadu, when a Police constable in Nilgiris district died after he tripped and fell performing an acrobatic feat as part of the bravery display.

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