Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003
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The principal change related to the headquarters secretary, a post held by the former Minister and efficient organiser, K.A. Sengottaiyan. He could not contest the 2001 Assembly elections as he had been convicted by a special court in one of the corruption cases registered against former AIADMK Ministers. He has appealed against the sentence. But to utilise his services, Ms. Jayalalithaa named him headquarters secretary. Now, his sudden removal has raised some eyebrows, but party sources say the appointment of his successor bears significance.
The Law and Energy Minister, D. Jayakumar, has been named the new headquarters secretary, in addition to his increasing ministerial load. Mr. Jayakumar, who won the Royapuram Assembly seat in north Chennai, was originally the Electricity Minister in the Cabinet in 2001. But he was later stripped of Power and named Minister for Law in one of the reshuffles. Information Technology was later added to his charge and in the most recent changes, he has got back his Energy department, enhancing his `power' in the Cabinet, in which he ranks next only to the former Chief Minister, O. Paneerselvam, and the Finance Minister, C. Ponnaiyan.
Mr. Jayakumar's appointment to the party post today, the AIADMK sources say, adds to his stature in the organisation and is in keeping with the `One man, two posts' policy now being implemented by the leader. Last week, Ms. Jayalalithaa, stripped some of the former ministers of their charge as district secretaries and appointed the new Ministers, who had been inducted, to take up party work in the districts as well combining functions in the party and government so that they keep `complete control' of all activities in districts. Ms. Jayalalithaa earlier expressed the view that every district needed a Minister, who could monitor development programmes in the area.
Jothi, new legal adviser
Another party post involved in an `operation replacement' was that of legal adviser. This, party sources explain, acquires importance from the `person' rather than the `position'. The former Speaker and erstwhile AIADMK parliamentary party leader, P.H. Pandian, has been replaced by Ms. Jayalalithaa's lawyer and recently-elected Rajya Sabha member, N. Jothi. He has not only handled the slew of corruption cases against Ms. Jayalalithaa but has been also advising her on the clutch of defamation suits filed by her against newspapers.
In the third change effected today, the party leader has relieved R. Samy, MLA, of his post as secretary, MGR Youth wing. But there is no replacement as yet.
Party sources say Ms. Jayalalithaa is ``constantly reviewing the functioning of the party'' and changes will be made ``as and when necessary, based on feedback''.
Karur unit revamped
Later in the day, Ms. Jayalalithaa, effected a complete revamp of the Karur district unit. The former Minister, A. Papasundaram, who was dropped from the Cabinet last week, lost his district secretaryship also. He has instead been made chairman of the district council. The district treasurer, Raja N. Palanisamy, has been made district secretary, says a party release said.
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