Chennai: He came, he sat, he waited. PMK’s youth wing chief and MP, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss finally left the Muthamizh Peravai hall at RA Puram here Saturday evening after making a 15-minute solo speech as his ‘rival’ for the proposed debate on the poor standard of education in Tamil Nadu failed to turn up.
“Our MP waited for a whole hour for the school education minister K.A. Sengottaiyan to turn up for the debate but the latter did not turn up. He developed cold feet after challenging Anbumani for this debate”, said the PMK MP’s aide Swaminathan.
Thus, what could have been an interesting and enriching debate on TN's dismal performance in the education sector, ended in a fiasco. “We phoned the minister but his line was not reachable. His PA’s phone was switched off. We called his office but none answered as today is a holiday being second Saturday. The office staff told us yesterday (Friday) they would inform the minister of today’s debate with our MP”, said Swaminathan.
When DC phoned personal assistant (PA) of minister Sengottaiyan, he said the minister was busy in his Gobichettipalayam constituency. “Ah, it’s just waste of time”, quipped PA Kathir, when asked about the debate in Chennai.
It all began with Anbumani alleging, earlier this month, serious irregularities and malpractices in appointments and transfers in the state school education department. Reacting strongly, Sengottaiyan dared Anbumani to face a debate with him on the issue instead of making baseless charges. Fix the date and venue for the debate, the minister challenged Dr Anbumani.
Hailing the minister for his readiness to face the debate, the PMK MP said his party would foot the expenses for the event and invited Sengottaiyan for the debate at Muthamizh Peravai hall in Chennai on August 12. That was on August 7 (Monday) and when reporters confronted him during his public function at Kancheepuram the following day, the minister retorted, “I am transparent in all my actions. I have an open mind and clear heart. Let him (Anbumani) first clear all the corruption charges (relating to his tenure as Union health minister) and then come for the debate”.
“We were prepared for debating about that issue (corruption charges against Anbumani) as well today, but the minister did not turn up”, rued Swaminathan....