OPS’ Son Ravindranath Kumar Gets No Place in Modi’s Cabinet
Will TN Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s son Ravindranath Kumar get a position in Modi’s Cabinet?
Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of the country for the second time, the lone legislator from the AIADMK-BJP alliance didn’t get a place in the cabinet. Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam’s son P Ravindranath Kumar is the only MP to be elected from the ruling party AIADMK. BJP was in a pre-poll alliance with AIADMK and PMK in the state.
Sources said the Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami (EPS) had rooted for Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam to get a cabinet post, but he too did not find a spot in the list.
Ravindranath won the battle against the Congress old-timer and grandnephew of Dravidian legend EVR Periyar, EVKS Elangovan.
He won with a margin of 76,693 votes.
Here is all you need to know about Ravindranath Kumar.
Thirty-nine-year-old Kumar was born in Thenkarai in Periyakulam in Theni district. He completed his schooling in Theni and higher studies in Coimbatore and Chennai. He is married to Anandhi and they have three children AR Jaideep, AR Jayashree and AR Adhithya.
From a very young age, he has accompanied his father to public meetings and has always been familiar with how things work in Tamil Nadu politics.
His affidavit claimed he had no criminal cases against him.
Foot Soldier for His Father
Kumar is the secretary of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Peravai (Theni unit).
When he was given the ticket to contest from Theni, there were many whispers about dynasty politics. However, his father, the deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam had brushed aside those allegations, saying Kumar had been working for the AIADMK since the age of 18. He was given the ticket because he had served as a dedicated party worker.
“I have been a member of the AIADMK since 1998 after I completed college. Since then I’ve worked for the elections in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2014,” Kumar said to News 18.
His tryst with election campaigning started back in 2001 when his father stood for the first time for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. He campaigned for OPS in Kodaikanal, who won by more than 14,000 votes, said the media report.
Ravindranath has campaigned for TTV Dinakaran and Thanga Tamizhselvam as well in the past.
Ravindranath has even worked with late chief minister Jayalalithaa back in 1991.
“I used to tag along with my father to the party office. I used to observe all these activities since I was nine years old. I liked Amma a lot. I would have accepted Amma as my leader even if my father hadn’t entered politics. I would have worked as a cadre under her leadership,” he said to News 18.
In an earlier interview, Kumar said that the Panneerselvam family was sidelined by Jayalalithaa ahead of the 2016 elections. This was the reason why Kumar lost a position in the party.
There has been an ongoing tussle between Paneerselvam and the Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami (EPS). The latter was rooting for Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam to get a Cabinet post, while OPS was keen his son gets the ministerial berth.
Ravindranath had requested to become the Minister of State in either the Communications, Aviation or Fertilisers Ministry, said sources to The News Minute. BJP was apparently considering a post for him in Ministry of Shipping. The post was earlier held by BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, the first BJP MP from the state. He lost the fight in Kanyakumari constituency this time.
To-Do List for the MP
Whether central minister or not, Ravindranath will need to keep in mind the electorate that voted him to power. Theni people have a long list of demands from laying of railway tracks between Bodi and Kumuli, and completion of broad-gauge conversion between Madurai and Bodi. Some people have even requested for a mango juice factory and a grape wine factory, quoted The New Indian Express.
The newly elected MP will need to earn a name of his own, more than just being OPS’ son.
(With inputs from The New Indian Express, The News Minute, News 18)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.