A comment by a former Indian Police Service (IPS) official praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetisation and making the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) more accessible to the people has drawn the ire of social media followers of the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Tamil Nadu native K Annamalai after serving 10 years in the Karnataka cadre.
Though he said he was yet to decide on his next step, it was widely speculated that he would enter politics.
In an interview to News18 Tamil channel, Annamalai said that Modi had broken the lobbying structure at the Prime Minister’s Office since 2014.
"The PMO was not easily accessible before. You needed Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh to get access. Modi has broken this since 2014. It is difficult for an ordinary person to break an organised structure like this and come up to such a position in the country. But he has done this efficiently. I like him because he has a larger vision (for the country’s welfare),” Annamalai said.
In particular, he said Modi’s decision on demonetisation was taken in long-term interest, though it led to “pain in the short term” and it was a “bold risk”.
To a question on many protests against various amendments such as Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and abrogation of Article 370, the former IPS official said these have come due to social media penetration in the country, which is the highest in the world.
“In today’s world where social media penetration is high, it is difficult to administer a nation as we have seen from protests in France, Hong Kong and even China. Where is revolution not taking place? Protests are taking place everywhere in the last 10 years,” Annamalai said.
While stating that people have become restless and the crowd leaderless, he had words of praise for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M K Stalin.
While Stalin has slogged his way up in the party, EPS has administered Tamil Nadu at a difficult time when the State faced many problems.
“EPS has been able to match the administrative ability of the late Jayalalithaa,” he said.
Annamalai was elusive to a question on whether he was in touch with Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who plans to float his own party soon, but said “Rajini wants to provide an alternative. We need to give him some space.”
Though Annamalai has been candid in his views, particularly regarding restructuring salaries of government servants, a section in the social media owing allegiance to DK and DMK have trolled him as “a new Sanghi”. (He has questioned expenditure to the tune of Rs 85,000 crore annually in Tamil Nadu towards salaries and pensions)
One of the trolls him “Sanghi Annamalai”, another criticised him for saying that the benefits of demonetisation would be clearly visible in 10 years.
But Annamalai also commands equal support with quite a number of people taking on the trolls.
Some of them have pointed out that he is from Tamil Nadu who has quit a lucrative IPS career to serve the people.
Annamalai, who some speculate, could join Rajinikanth, is currently working at the grassroots in his hometown, Karur, in western Tamil Nadu.
The former IPS official is training some 550 college students to make them employment-ready once they graduate.
He is also trying a Farmer Producers Organisation in Karur.
“This is my way of doing politics at the grassroots level,” he added.
People in Karnataka remember Annamalai for his stint as assistant superintendent of police at Karkala in Udupi district and also as superintendent of police in Udupi, Chikmagalur and Bengaluru.
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