After Governor RN Ravi's suggestion to call the state as 'Tamizhagam' (also written as 'Tamilakam') instead of Tamil Nadu and his walkout from the state Assembly few days later, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been on a confrontational path with the Governor as well as the Centre.
Its leaders like RS Bharathi and Sivaji Krishnamurthy have resorted to using abusive language against the Governor. While Bharathi compared the Governor to 'North Indians selling panipuri in Tamil Nadu', Krishnamurthy had said that a terrorist should be sent to kill the Governor.
While Chief Minister MK Stalin appealed to his party cadres to eschew incendiary remarks against the governor, he himself couldn't resist taking potshots at the Governor and even disrespectfully referred to him in the 'singular'.
However, in spite of all these provocative speeches, it is unlikely that the DMK would go for a full-on confrontation with the Centre because there are about half a dozen ministers who are under the radar of central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Here is a look at some of them-
V Senthil Balaji, Minister for Excise and Electricity
The Supreme Court restored a quashed corruption case that was lodged against him during his tenure as Transport minister in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government.
Balaji is alleged to have taken bribes for appointing candidates to positions of driver, conductor, engineer etc. in the state transport corporations.
Anitha Radhakrishnan, Minister for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had attached property worth Rs 6.5 crore belonging to him in February 2022 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It was done on the basis of a disproportionate assets case filed against him in 2006 by the then DMK government. Radhakrishnan was in the AIADMK then.
I Periyasamy, Former Minister for Housing and now Minister for Rural Development
The ED is investigating a case in which Periyasamy misused his powers to grant Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) plots, from the Government Discretionary Quota (GDQ) to ineligible beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries—Parvin Jaffar, wife of former Director General of Police (DGP) Jaffar Sait, and R Durgashankar, son of IAS officer K Rajamanickam entered into a contract with T Udayakumar of the Landmark Construction. They built flats on the plot and sold them off to the general public and made massive profits.
Assets worth Rs 14.23 crore have been attached in the case.
S Jagathrakshakan, DMK MP
Assets worth Rs 89 crore were seized from Jagathrakshakan and his family members for violation of rules under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
He and his son Sundeep Aanand had acquired shares in a Singapore based company, M/s. Silver Park International Pte. Ltd without permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and in further violation of the Act, transferred shares to his family members.
A Raja, senior DMK leader and former Union Cabinet Minister
While he is well known as the 2G scam accused, last December, the ED attached 45 acres of land in Coimbatore district after finding that it was held for him by a benami company.
The Party Set To Adopt A Cautious Course
"DMK is likely to deploy its entrenched ecosystem of party pamphleteers, Dravidian movement ideologues, rabble rousers and friendly media operatives to raise a rhetorical storm against the governor, but it will refrain from doing anything concrete to further escalate this confrontation" a reporter of a leading Tamil daily told Swarajya.
"The party fears that incurring the wrath of the ruling BJP will spell serious trouble as it will not only trigger renewed action by Central investigative agencies but also open up the possibility of scrutinising the acts of omission and commission since the party returned to power in 2021", he further added.
With allegation abound that commercial interests of the ruling first family is driving many government decisions, the party is likely to be cautious and avoid finding itself on a collision course with the Union Government.
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