Ministers nervous after Speaker resigns

The inglorious exit of senior party colleague D. Jayakumar from the Speaker’s chair has rattled many ministers in the AIADMK government even as the secretariat corridors are agog with reports that some of them could be axed.

A stickler for efficiency as much as absolute loyalty towards the party and its leadership, chief minister J. Jayalalithaa has been closely monitoring the work of her ministers at their secretariat desks as well as in the party forums. She had even pulled up a few of them in recent months, sources said.

Speculation has been rife for sometime regarding possible cabinet reshuffle. Senior party leader K.A. Sengottaiyan was dropped in July and his supporters from the Kongu region in western Tamil Nadu have been talking of his rehabilitation. Trichy’s N.R. Sivapathy was sacked and later taken back as school education minister.

About ten ministers have been dropped so far since the AIADMK government was sworn in 17 months ago.

Long-timer B. Valarmathi was not in the first list of ministers but her personal loyalty towards the party high command got her the job as the social welfare minister. There is some palpable nervousness post-Jayakumar in her camp, sources said, adding however that it is unlikely that the hardworking Thousand Lights legislator would be disturbed when the long-expected reshuffle happens in the next couple of weeks.

Sources say that the Assembly diamond jubilee meet on October 29 may have some new faces in the cabinet while the axe could fall on four to five ministers found wanting.

“The CM is keen on improving performance in her cabinet. She works hard and expects her colleagues to match up”, said a party senior.

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