CHENNAI: Embattled Food Minister R Kamaraj, facing a volley of questions from the opposition over the poor supply management of essential commodities, received support from unlikely quarters when rebel leader O Panneerselvam helped him fend off attacks from DMK.
Initiating the debate on the demand for grants to Food and Cooperation Departments, DMK senior EV Velu alleged that the PDS shops had run out of stock to supply, and his party’s working president MK Stalin had to lead a protest over the issue. Making an intervention, Minister Kamaraj charged DMK with announcing the protest only after the government initiated process to procure
essentials. This led to a war of words.
The unrelenting Velu, who handled the portfolio during the DMK regime, noted that Kamaraj had blamed former CM Panneerselvam for not clearing files which led to the delay in procurement.
Seated behind the minister, Panneerselvam got to his feet and said, “I had cleared all files put up before me within three days. I can’t be held responsible.”
Velu continued and alleged that salesmen in PDS shops revealed that only 50 per cent of the commodities were being supplied. At this point, Panneerselvam first passed a message to Kamaraj through Housing and Urban Development Minister ‘Udumalai’ K Radhakrishnan. Soon afterwards, he himself was seen whispering a few words into the embattled minister’s ears.
Egged on by Panneerselvam, Kamaraj challenged the DMK legislator to show the evidence for charges.