A Raja, a rare case of arrest of ex-Union minister

New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Andimuthu Raja''s love for poetryis believed to have got him close to DMK supremo M Karunanidhifor a blazing political career but the script went awry in arare case of a former union minister having to undergo theignominy of arrest consumed by the 2G Spectrum scam.

A prominent Dalit face of DMK, 47-year-old Raja hadcome a long way from being a lawyer and a block-level leaderin rural Tamil Nadu to Union Minister of State and finally aCabinet minister before he was forced to quit in Novemberlast.

The end of his stint as Union Telecom Minister mired ina huge controversy came in a brutal rush after days ofstalemate and now his arrest comes at a critical time for theDMK ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

The dalit factor helped Raja get early breaks in hispolitical career, like becoming a Union Minister at the age of35--in the NDA government in 1999. And he never looked backholding several portfolios both in the NDA and UPA regimes atthe Centre.

He became Telecom Minister in May 2007. And again in2009, despite 2G scam allegations and the high-profileDayanidhi Maran being in the race for the post, for being arare Dalit DMK leader and for his loyalty to M Karunanidhi,who too is a poet and writer himself.

Raja''s choice for the high-profile Telecom Ministrysurprised many in the political corridors in Delhi, butKarunanidhi and his DMK stood by him all along despitewidespread allegations against him over his involvement inalleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Raja was born on May 10, 1963 in Perambalur in TamilNadu and often likes to reminisce that he had to go to Trichyfor an education as there were no facilities nearer home. InTrichy, Raja got a BSc and then his law degrees. He was astudent leader of the Dravidar Kazhagam, the parent body ofthe DMK.

As an interesting aside, Raja writes poetry in Tamil.

His literary skills are believed to have got him close toKarunanidhi.

Raja was a student leader of the Dravidar Kazhagam, theparent body of the DMK. From a block level leader he rosequickly and was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996. Rajaearlier represented Perambalur and now represents the Nilgirisconstituency in Tamil Nadu and this is his fourth term inParliament after being re-elected in 2009.

His catchphrase in that election campaign was "Oru kiloarisi oru rupa, oru hello 50 paisa" (One kg rice one rupee, ahello on the phone 50 paisa).

When he resigned on November 14, Raja again said, "Ibrought revolution in the Telecom sector." But his bid to takecredit has been neutralised by the controversial 2G Spectrumallocation.

Raja hit headlines for the wrong reasons ever since heallocated license for the 2G bandwidth in 2007 soon after hetook over the coveted portfolio. .

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