The 34-member new cabinet in Tamil Nadu announced by MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has some unusual and unique names, as far as the nation’s politics is concerned. While Stalin continues to lead from the front, a ‘Gandhi’ as well as a ‘Nehru’ have been appointed as ministers.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit has approved the list of ministers ahead of Stalin’s swearing-in ceremony on Friday at the Raj Bhavan. Stalin, who is all set to become a chief minister for the first time, has proposed KN Nehru’s name for the portfolio of Minister for Municipal Administration in charge of Urban and Water Supply and R Gandhi’s name for Handlooms and Textiles, Khadi and Village Industries Board, and Boodhan and Gramadhan.
R Gandhi was elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from Ranipet constituency as a DMK candidate first in 1996. He, along with his wife and son, was among several DMK ministers who were charged with holding disproportionate assets. The charges were later quashed by the courts due to a lack of evidence.
KN Nehru, DMK’s principal secretary and party veteran, contested the fifth straight elections from the Tiruchi West constituency. The veteran leader was named after Jawaharlal Nehru by his father, who was a staunch Congressman. The family later shifted allegiance to the DMK in the late 1960s and Nehru has been a strongman of the party since he won his first elections in 1989.
Stalin, whose full name is Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, was named after the famous former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and had reportedly faced rejections from several schools over the issue. He was the first deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu from 2009 to 2011.
His father and late DMK patriarch, M Karunanidhi, appointed Stalin as his heir apparent, thus ending a long-time confusion about who would take over the party reins after him. On August 28, 2018, Stalin was unanimously elected as the DMK chief after Karunanidhi passed away.