The new Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu, Palanivel Thiagarajan, is very much in discussion these days. Thiagarajan has been in the limelight after describing the spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev, also known as Sadguru, as a “publicity hound”. Thiagarajan, who has been in America for a long time, is also known as PTR.
Journey from banker to finance minister
Palanivel Thiagarajan became Finance Minister by winning for the second time from Madurai Central. His family has a long association with politics. PTR’s grandfather PT Rajan was the Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency in the 1930s, while his father PTR Palanivel Rajan worked as a DMK minister.
PTR has an engineering degree from NIT Trichy. He has an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He moved to America from India in 1987. After 20 years, he returned after completing his studies, working there and marrying an American classmate.
In 2011, PTR moved to Singapore for a high-profile banker’s job. He then returned in 2015. A year later, he won the assembly election from Madurai Central.
In the last five years, Palanivel Thiagarajan has carved out a distinct identity as a leader. He used to put a report card of his work in front of him every 6 months.
PTR now lives in Chennai with his wife Margaret Rajan, school-going sons Palanitag Rajan and Velatyag Rajan, and five dogs.
According to the English newspaper The Indian Express, one of the top issues on PTR’s agenda, which has been critical of the Modi government’s financial policies, is the settlement of Tamil Nadu’s GST dues with the Center.
What did Palanivel Thiagarajan say about Sadhguru?
PTR, during a recent interview to the English newspaper The Hindu, dismissed the Sangh Parivar’s demand to free the temples in Tamil Nadu from the administrative control of the state government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department as “rubbish”.
When the interviewer cited Sadhguru’s support for this demand, PTR called the spiritual master a “publicity hound”.
He said, “In Jaggi’s case, he is a publicity hound, trying to find another angle to make more money.” “Further, Thiagarajan said,” He is a commercial operator pretending to use God and religion to get help. “
After this, in an open letter, Isha Foundation said, “We are shocked that a person of his (Jaggi Vasudev’s) stature became the target of the minister’s unparliamentary and personal attack.”
On the other hand, when PTR’s statement regarding Sadhguru became controversy, he issued a 4-page statement stating that he had “no personal agenda” against Sadhguru.
He said that as an opposition member of the Public Accounts Committee of the previous assembly, he first came to know about Sadhguru and his Isha Foundation. He received an “audit paragraph” between 1994 and 2008 over alleged irregularities in the foundation’s construction on the forest land of Coimbatore and its acquisition of “post-facto approval” from the Hill Area Conservation Authority.
PTR took this paragraph and said that it inspired him to “research” the matter and find “several other potential violations”.