MADURAI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is by now used to allies making a song and dance about most things the UPA government does, leading to many a roadblock. This time, one of his cabinet ministers have confessed he has done a roll back at the prime minister’s request. Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and DMK MP D Napoleon recently admitted at a private function organised by his mentor and Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, MK Alagiri that the PM requested him to stop singing and acting in public after he became a Union minister. And he readily agreed.
The 49 year-old Naopleon— his given name is Kumaresan Duraisamy—has mostly played villain in nearly 90 Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu movies. Like most actors, he wanted to be a political hero. Napoleon’s dream of a political empire was fulfilled partly when he got elected on a DMK ticket from
Perambalur constituency and was made a minister.
But once an actor, always an actor. Now, Napoleon may have quit the entertainment industry after joining the Union Cabinet, but last week he broke into song at the request of his political patron Alagiri who asked him to sing. Delivering his speech after inaugurating the High Learning Centre in CIPET last week, Alagiri told the audience, “Since many of you want Napoleon to sing, I am asking him to sing a song for you.”
Napoleon seemed visibly shocked. “It has been a long time since I have been cut off from my fans,” he said.
The minister sang the song ‘Kizhakku Cheemayile’ from the hit film Seevalaperi Pandi. While the audience applauded him, Alagiri and DMK MP K P Ramalingam, who was also on the stage were seen smiling.
Napoleon said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked him not to take any film roles after he had taken oath as minister. “I requested him that I have three films pending and I should be allowed to complete it. And he has kindly agreed.”
Napoleon may be an actor, but he is no political novice. His uncle, K N Nehru, was a Public Welfare Minister in one of the DMK governments in Tamil Nadu.
After finishing college, Napoleon moved to Chennai where he was taken up with the ideologies of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which he joined. In 2011, he stood for Assembly elections, and won from the Villivakkam constituency. In 2006, he was to meet his Waterloo in Mylapore constituency, when another actor S V Shekhar defeated him in the assembly polls.
The ministerial situation of UPA ally DMK in the Union cabinet is full of vagaries. The party has not nominated a successor to disgraced and jailed Telecom minister A Raja or to former Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran. Fertiliser minister MK Alagiri has been often accused of not attending meetings and office regularly. Now that Napoleon has shown his musical side, the UPA shows that it is always ready to dance to its allies’ tune.