EPS drops IT minister; asserts authority

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami  removed Information Technology Minister Dr M Manikandan from the ministerial post. (PTI Photo)

Effecting the first re-jig in the Cabinet after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday removed Information Technology Minister Dr M Manikandan from the ministerial post.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit removed Manikandan, who represents Ramanathapuram constituency, on the recommendation from Palaniswami.

Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar will hold an additional charge of IT, Purohit said in a statement.

Senior leader K A Sengottaiyan was the only addition to the Cabinet after ‘MaFoi’ K Pandiarajan sided with O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against V K Sasikala.

However, Panneerselvam and Pandiarajan were later inducted into the Cabinet.

By removing Manikandan, who has been in the eye of a storm due to his statements directed against party colleagues, Palaniswami has asserted his authority over the Cabinet.

Though his government survives on a wafer-thin majority, Palaniswami has been exerting control over the dispensation and party virtually side-lining his deputy O Panneerselvam, who is the coordinator of the AIADMK.

By removing Manikandan and allotting his portfolio to another colleague, Palaniswami has also avoided a cabinet reshuffle that could have led to jockeying for ministerial berths among senior MLAs.

Manikandan has been in a constant battle with MLA from Tiruvadanai actor Karunas and former MP Anwar Rajaa. The last nail in the coffin was his targeting of minister ‘Udumalai’ Radhakrishnan, the managing director of state-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation.

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