M A I N   N E W S

Jayalalithaa reinstates sacked employees
Tribune News Service

Chennai, June 23
The electoral rout of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu in the last general elections continued to have its reverberations as Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, today reshuffled her Cabinet for the umpteenth time and in an about turn reinstated the dismissed casual state government employees.

While she dismissed state Education Minister S. Senmalai and state Minister for Backward Classes R. Jeenantham, she re-allocated the portfolios of three other ministers in her Cabinet.

Dismissing Cabinet ministers and again bringing them back is nothing new with the ruling AIADMK government as Ms Jayalalithaa has done it so many times during her past three years of rule that people have lost count of it.

But this time she has found scapegoats in these two ministers whose performance and poll management she did not find up to the mark.

Mr Senmalai seems to have been punished for his inept handling of the junior medico strike last year. He has also been stripped of the post of district secretary of the AIADMK.

Mr Jeevanantham’s fault was the backward classes and minorities, which had earlier voted for the AIADMK but this time deserted the party leading to the party failing to win even one seat in southern Tamil Nadu considered to be the party’s stronghold.

The AIADMK and BJP combine had failed to win even one of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu.

Ms Jayalalithaa has also stripped three other state ministers, Mr P. Annavi, Mr S. Ramachandran and Mr P. Inbatamilan, from their posts of party district secretaries.

While the witch-hunt for the party’s electoral debacle is expected to continue, ministers in Ms Jayalalithaa’s government had always felt insecure being at the mercy of her whims.

Her rollback measures after the general elections saw its height today as within 24 hours she changed her mind and took back the 15,500 state government casual employees who were dismissed on Monday night.

Throughout Tuesday they thronged the corridors of power at the state secretariat here seeking an audience with the lady Chief Minister.

While some wept and pleaded, many were angry and demanded to know why such treatment had been meted out to them since they had bailed Ms Jayalalithaa out when the state government employees had gone on strike last year.

In a terse statement today the Chief Minister said that the casual employees had been kept in service for nearly one year even though the strike situation had ended and the regular employees had joined back.

“In view of this changed situation the services of these persons engaged temporarily to meet the strike situation had to be terminated,” she said.

But as an afterthought she must have realised that in case of a similar situation in future none will offer their services and decided to roll back her decision within 24 hours.

Ms Jayalalithaa stated, “Even though the original necessity for engaging these persons on a temporary basis to meet the strike situation has ceased, I have decided to take a sympathetic view based on their representation and I have ordered that their services may be continued in government.”

Though the news was received with jubilation at the state secretariat and other government offices throughout the state, the casual employees did not feel confident unless their jobs were formally regularised.

Said one of the casual employees, “She will be in power for two years more. What if she loses the elections and the next government dismisses us? We can never be totally relieved unless we are made permanent employees.”

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