Friday, July 6, 2018

Arcot N. Veeraswami, 6 times MLA, Minister, No:3 in DMK

Arcot N. Veeraswami was a former minister for electricity in the state of Tamil Nadu. He was born in Kuppadichatham village in North Arcot district in Tamil Nadu on 21 April 1937 to Narayanasamy Naidu and Jeyammal couple. He has finished his school education before he actively engaged in politics.

He was sworn in as Minister of the Govt of Tamilnadu thrice during 1989, 1996 and 2006 as Food Minister, Minister for Health and Electricity and As Electricity Minister respectively.

Veerasamy has had a slow and steady rise in Tamil Nadu politics. The treasurer of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), who, years ago, worked as a clerk in the state electricity board, was handpicked by DMK founder, C N Annadurai, as a candidate for the Arcot constituency in 1967. Since then, he has not looked back, gaining fame for his abilities to balance an acrid tongue with an uncanny talent to dissolve simmering tensions.

He worked for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party and rose in the ranks of the party to be elected unanimously as the Treasurer of Dravida Munnetras Kazhagam in 1998. He is the member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party for a long time and has been elected to Tamil Nadu assembly six times.

He was elected as Member of Legislative Assembly from Arcot constituency in the years 1967, 1971, from Purasaiwalkam constituency in 1989, and from Annanagar constituency in 1996, 2001 and 2006 in the General elections. He also served as Member of the Legislative Council from 1977 to 1983.

During the Emergency, Veerasamy was arrested under the draconian MISA rules and in the early eighties, after the death of Sathik Pasha, then treasurer of the DMK Party, he became the treasurer and emerged as No 3 in the party after Karunanidhi and K Anbazhagan in the early eighties. In 1989, he was made a minister for the first time.

After Murasoli Maran's (DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's nephew) death in 2003, it was natural for Karunanidhi to sense a vacancy to the post of conscience keeper. Slowly, Arcot Veerasamy, emerged as a replacement for Murasoli Maran in the DMK, even as the rift between the Maran and Karunanidhi clans widened, says a senior political analyst.

After the attack last year by supporters of the patriarch's elder son, M K Azhagiri, on the Dinakaran office in Madurai following a political survey published by the paper, Arcot Veerasamy was seen as a key person in decision-making meetings and played a vital role in setting up and launching Kalaignar TV as a rival channel to Kalanidhi Maran's Sun TV.

The family quarrel spilt over into the public space after the Dinakaran attack and Maran's subsequent expulsion from the party. Veerasamy's troubleshooting skills were in demand again. He was sent to New Delhi to meet United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and explain why Dayanidhi Maran was ousted from the party.

With no possible patch-up seen between the Maran and Karunanidhi clans, Veerasamy is likely to retain his role as an able steward to Karunanidhi, points out a political observer. He was given the important portfolio of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, which used to be held by Karunanidhi.

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