CHENNAI: Entrepreneur-turned-politician ‘Ma Foi’ K Pandiarajan has been made the new School Education Minister while Dairy Development Minister S P Shanmuganathan lost his slot in the State Cabinet after the latest reshuffle on Monday.
Swearing-in of the new minister would take place at Raj Bhavan on Tuesday evening.
Pandiarajan, a member representing Avadi near Chennai, has been allocated School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare portfolios, hitherto looked after by P Benjamin. Benjamin has been moved to the Rural Industries portfolio held by KT Rajenthra Bhalaji. In addition, Benjamin will also look after Cottage Industries and Small Industries.
Rajenthra Bhalaji has been allocated Milk and Dairy Development, the portfolios held so far by Shanmuganathan.
Before his name was prefixed with ‘Ma Foi’, the eponymous human resources firm that he launched, Pandiarajan from Vilampatti, a remote village near Sivakasi had tried his hands in a match factory. He had lost his father at a very young age, and the family needed all help it could get.
But the boy was good at studies, which made his teachers to encourage him to continue his education. He completed his BE from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, and received his MBA in PM & IR from Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur.
After establishing himself as an entrepreneur running a leading human resources firm that established itself as a leading company in the field over the years, Ma Foi, Pandiarajan took interest in politics, and entered the field with the BJP.
After a few years, he joined the DMDK and was elected to the State Assembly in 2011 from Virudhunagar constituency.
Later, due to differences with the DMDK leadership, he and seven other DMDK MLAs came out of the party and functioned as a separate group within the House for about two years.
At last, on February 25, he and others joined the AIADMK just ahead of the May 16 Assembly election. He has been elected from Avadi constituency.
Interestingly, during the ongoing Assembly session, whenever Pandiarajan rose to intervene when a DMK member was speaking in the House, the DMK MLAs vehemently objected to it and stalled the proceedings for a few minutes. The DMK MLAs used to ask: “On what capacity is he responding to our questions? Is he a minister? Or above the other ministers in the Cabinet?” Now he is.
He is also a trustee of various foundations, MaFoi, EKAM, Sornammal Educational Trust and CIOSA.