The road ahead will be more important for Udhayanidhi Stalin becoming the Cabinet minister

With being appointed as the Cabinet Minister on Dec 14th, the real challenge for Udhayanidhi Stalin begins now. Facing flak from critics for securing a ministerial berth within a year into his maiden term as MLA, Stalin junior has the job of demonstrating his administrative prowess to silence sceptics calling his elevation hasty.

Shortly after Udhayanidhi Stalin, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) youth wing secretary and MLA from the Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency in Chennai was sworn in as the state minister on Wednesday, December 14, he announced that the upcoming Tamil movie Maamannan would be his last film as an actor.

Speaking to the media after the swearing in ceremony, Udhayanidhi Stalin said in Tamil, “No, I am not acting anymore. I was supposed to act in a movie produced by Kamal sir. When he came to know about this, he was the first one to congratulate. The last film would be Maamannan with Thiru Mari Selvaraj,” he said. However, it is unclear whether Udhayanidhi will continue to produce and distribute films under his home banner Red Giant Movies.

DMK insiders have gleefully admitted that his decision to quit acting was a big relief and it would spare a great deal of criticism from the opposition. In the same breath, he is under pressure now to showcase his talent as an administrator.

Stalin has deputed an able team of bureaucrats, Udhayachandran, Amutha and Atulya Misra to ensure that his son shines bright. A little over a decade ago, then chief minister M Karunanidhi had successfully roped in IAS officers Ashok Vardhan Shetty and K Deenabandhu to back Stalin who headed the municipal administration department during the previous DMK regime.

Udhayanidhi said he will start work for establishing mini stadiums in all 234 assembly constituencies in the state.

Questioned about the criticisms being levelled against him over his elevation as minister, Udhayanidhi Stalin, at the Raj Bhavan, said, “Definitely there will be criticisms. I can respond to them only through my actions. Similar criticisms were made when I was made DMK’s youth wing secretary and MLA.”

Later, in a statement Udhayanidhi recalled his political journey as the secretary of the DMK’s youth wing in July 2019 and his active participation in demonstrations organised by the party in support of various people’s demands and training programmes on Dravidian model governance. He also recalled his contribution in enrolling 25 lakh new members to the party’s youth wing and appointment of 3.5 lakh office-bearers to the unit.

“Now, the CM has allowed me to serve as a minister. I will try to excel in this task too. In my responsibility as a minister, I will try to win people’s hearts and live up to the expectations of everyone,” he said. Earlier, Udhayanidhi was sworn in as a minister at a simple function at the Raj Bhavan.

On the first day in office, Udhayanidhi signed three key files—allocating Rs 47.04 crore for conducting 16 sport competitions for CM’s trophy, granting monthly lifetime financial assistance of Rs 6,000 each to nine indigent sportspersons, and Rs 4 lakh cash award to Nivethitha of Coimbatore for winning silver medal in shooting competitions in Peru recently.

After the swearing-in, Udhayanidhi drove to the memorials of his grandfather M Karunanidhi and former chief minister CN Annadurai on the Marina and paid his respects. He also visited Periyar Thidal, where he was greeted by DK president K Veeramani, and the Gopalapuram residence of Karunanidhi. Though it is curtains down for actor Udhayanidhi, there is no clarity yet on his role in Red Giant Movies, the film production and distribution house founded by him.Sources said an official statement will be made soon.

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