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Rediff.com  » News » Pondy: Rangasamy's clean image helped end Cong rule

Pondy: Rangasamy's clean image helped end Cong rule

May 13, 2011 19:49 IST

N Rangasamy, nicknamed 'Junior Kamaraj' for his simple living and unassuming style, took sweet revenge on his former party Congress which unceremoniously removed him as chief minister of Puducherry. Sidelined by the Congress, Rangasamy felt humiliated and launched his own outfit All India N R Congress on the eve of the assembly polls and signed a poll pact with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011

A soft-spoken and 'simple' Rangasamy, who likes riding a bike rather than travelling in a car even when he was the chief minister, is a bachelor and unassuming politician. During his over seven-year-long tenure as chief minister, Rangasamy is credited with brining a slew of developmental projects and launching a free breakfast scheme for school children in the state. He also introduced housing subsidy scheme and christened it after Kamaraj which provides a grant of Rs 1 lakh as subsidy to enable hut dwellers to construct a concrete house.

Rangasamy also launched Kamaraj education assistance scheme to reimburse the tuition fees of the students enrolled in professional colleges under government quota. He concentrated on infrastructures and construction of overhead tanks to meet drinking water requirements.

However, his critics mocked him as "Chief Minister of Thattanchavady", a constituency, which he represented in the outgoing assembly. His entire cabinet revolted against his functioning and the high command replaced him with V Vaithilingam, who was the chief minister during 1991-96.

Sidelined since then, Rangsamy adopted a wait and watch policy to see whether the Congress leadership takes him into confidence in selecting candidates for the polls. With that not happening, he quit the party at the last minute and launched his outfit.

Drawn to politics during his student days inspired by late Kamaraj, Rangasamy, a lawyer by profession, unsuccessfully contested elections from Thattanchavadi in 1990. But he made it in his second attempt in 1991 after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Janata Dal coalition ministry fell. He never backed from then onwards.

Born on August 4, 1950, he became the first Vanniya chief minister of the union territory where the backward Vanniyars were a dominant one in 2001. Before that he was a minister in Vaidialingam ministry in 1991.

He became the agriculture and Public Works Department minister in 1991 and was the PWD Minister in the P Shanmugham Government in 2001. He has now contested the assembly polls from two segments -- Indira Nagar and Kadirkamam, which were carved out of Thattanchavady constituency. This is the first time that a candidate has sought elections from two segments simultaneously.

 

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