Su. Thirunavukkarasar

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S. Thirunavukkarasar
former Minister of Shipping, Telecommunication and Information Technology
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Constituency Pudukottai
Personal details
Born (1949-05-07) 7 May 1949 (age 67)
Political party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam - (1977 - 1991)
Thayaga Marumalarchi Kazhagam (1991-1996)
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (1996-2000)
MGR Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (2000-2002) (merged with BJP) [1]
Bharatiya Janata Party (2002 - 2009)
INC (2009 - current) [2]
Residence Chennai

Subburaman Thirunavukkarasar (born 7 May 1949) is an Indian politician. He is a secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) of Indian National Congress.[3] His introduction to politics in 1977 was facilitated by former chief minister of Tamil Nadu M. G. Ramachandran. M. G. Ramachandran Started ADMK in 1972 and was facing the first Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly election in 1977. Ramachandran identified Thirunavukkarasar, a lawyer by profession, from a congress family to contest the Aranthangi assembly constituency. Upon winning the Aranthangi assembly constituency for the first time (1977) at a very young age of 27, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. He continued in that capacity till 1980. Subsequently, he served as Tamil Nadu state minister from 1980 to 1987 in the M. G. Ramachandran Cabinet. Ramachandran offered him multiple key portfolios such as Industries, Excise and Handlooms. Later, he became Lok Sabha member by winning the Pudukottai parliament constituency. He served as central minister of shipping, telecommunications and information technology. He joined BJP for a brief period and was also made Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradhesh. He contested unsuccessfully in the Indian general election, 2009 (Tamil Nadu) elections from Ramanathapuram Constituency representing Bharatiya Janata Party.[4]

Early life[edit]

S. Thirunavukkarasar was born in Theeyathoor[near by Mimisal], Pudukkottai Tamil Nadu[5]S.Thirunavukkarasar is from the Thevar community[6] He did his M.A., B.L. at Madras University, Chennai and Venkateshwara University, Tirupathi.


He started his political career at a very young age of 27 by winning the Aranthangi assembly seat and was immediately propelled to the post of deputy speaker of the house in Ramachandran's first term. It is essential to note that the other assembly constituencies in Pudukottai district was won by congress candidates in the 1977 election. Thus, Thirunavukkarasar sow the seeds of ADMK, which flourished in Pudukottai district. He played a pivotal role in converting this district into ADMK's strong hold.[7] After winning the second term from Aranthangi, he was then elevated to be a minister in M. G. Ramachandran's cabinet. Ramachandran appointed Thirunavukkarasar as the youth wing leader of the AIADMK. Several youngsters were ministers in M. G. Ramachandran's cabinet, but he chose Thirunavukkarasar as the youth wing leader, which is a testimony to Thirunavukkarasar's organizational skill and the confidence M. G. Ramachandran had on Thirunavukkarasar. It also imparted tremendous responsibility to Thirunavukkarasar because DMK had attracted youth of Tamil Nadu by anti-Hindi agitation and attractive oratory. Thus, M. G. Ramachandran gave the formidable task of taking the party to young men and women of Tamil Nadu to Thirunavukkarasar. He has been elected from Aranthangi legislative assembly constituency from 1977 till 1996. He won the Pudukottai Lok Sabha Constituency in 1999 and was union minister of state for shipping and later communication & IT till 2004. He was appointed as the secretary of the all India congress committee by the congress president Madam Sonia Gandhi. Currently, as AICC secretary, he is in-charge of Telangana and participated in the selection of Mr Jana Reddy as leader of opposition.[8] Thirunavukkarasar was invited to inaugurate the Tamil Nadu chapter of Indian National Congress overseas in New York, USA.[9]

Achievements as State Minister (Tamil Nadu)[edit]

Thirunavukkarasar was the Industries, Handlooms and Commercial tax minister in M. G. Ramachandran cabinet. These ministries were with M. G. Ramachandran, while Thirunavukkarasar was the deputy speaker of the assembly. Ramachandran had tremendous confidence in Thirunavukkarasar, hence he gave the key ministries that he was handling to 30-year-old Thirunavukkarasar. Thirunavukkarasar made full justice to this gesture by Ramachandran. During this period, Mr Thirunavukkarasar established Tamil Nadu Magnesite corporation (TANMAG) and Tamil Nadu minerals limited (TAMIN). This is a corroboration of his visionary thinking about exploration of mineral resources of Tamil Nadu.[10] Please note that Minerals such as limestone, lignite, granite, clay, gypsum, feldspar, graphite, and iron are abundant in Tamil Nadu. Besides these, small quantities of gold, copper, magnesite, kaolin, bauxite, and asbestos are also found here.[11] Thirunavukkarsar also established Electronic corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), which is the nodal organization for procuring electrical and electronic goods for the Tamil Nadu government. Indeed, ELCOT procures all the freebies distributed by the current and previous governments.[12] Thirunavukkarasar also established several State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOTs). Several paper and sugar mills were established by Thirunavukkarasar. In fact, the then opposition leader Kalaignar Karunanidhi opposed the establishment of Pugalur paper factory. He described that project as impossible project. However, Thirunavukkarasar successfully established a successful paper mill.[13] Due to these reasons, Thirunavukkarasar was considered the best Industries minister of Tamil Nadu. He also believed human resource development is a must and that can only be achieved through education. Towards this objective, he established schools, arts and science college and polytechniques. These were done in 1980s. Although, human resource development is a mantra in the current and previous decades, it was not so in the 80s. In fact, for a backward constituency such as Aranthangi, establishing institutes of higher learning is a visionary thinking. He also built small dams in rivers and started hospitals and primary health centers. These were done while there was hardly any awareness about water storage and health care.[14]

Achievements as Central Minister (Government of India)[edit]

As shipping minister, Thirunavukkarasar envisioned maritime education as a must for sea trade and shipping industry. He emphasized the use of technology and scientific training. As the minister of shipping, he insisted the National Institute of Port Management (NIPM) to enroll and train more personnel to help the shipping industry grow. While delivering a speech at NIPM, Thirunavukkarasar mentioned "maritime sector and safe movement of goods by sea is fundamental to the new era of globalisation and the new world order."[15] The importance of Thirunavukkarasar's visionary thinking can be understood by considering China's "string of pearls" maritime rout.[16] He also inaugurated new premises for Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET) and revealed his plan to increase the number of personnel trained in these institutes from 60000 to 3 lakhs. The personnel trained in these institutes were employed by largest shipping companies such as The Maersk group. This indicates that human resource development has been the untold mantra of Thirunavukkarasar and he thrived to accomplish this by walking that extra mile.[17] During his tenure as communications and information technology minister, he unveiled the ambitious plan of providing voice mail and answering machine for rural areas. MoUs were signed with Indian Oil Corporation and Rail Tel (it provides rail safety system) to modernize respective departments and render better facilities to the public of this country. Thirunavukkarasar insisted in taking the Hi-Tech telecommunication services to rural and semi urban areas. Although his focus was on bringing the rural areas of South India in the network, he approached the ministry of home and defense to permit BSNL to expand its network in North East India as well. He believed that the Hi-Tech telecommunication is absolutely essential for over all development of the society.[18] Thirunavukkarasar was able to achieve a complicated task of handling the spectrum with out any controversy. It may be recalled that his successors' handling of spectrum allocations are under CBI investigation.[19] In fact, Thirunavukkarasar is in politics for 40 years, served as state and central minister and there was never an allegation of misuse of power or corruption.

Organisational Skill[edit]

Thirunavukkarasar was given the task of identifying candidates for 22 assembly constituencies by M. G. Ramachandran, while he was 30 years old. M. G. Ramachandran accepted 90% of the candidates suggested by Thirunavukkarasar and they also won the election. Later, while M. G. Ramachandran was in Brooklyn, USA, Mr R M veerappan tried taking over the ADMK by expelling a Rajyasabha MP. Thirunavukkarasar along with the MP met Mr Rajiv Gandhi and garnered the support of congress for the ADMK, which eventually thwarted the move by Mr R M Veerappan.[20] After the sad demise of M. G. Ramachandran, Thirunavukkarasar became the deputy secretary of AIADMK. ADMK ruled Tamil Nadu between 1991 and 1996, but lost the assembly election in 1996. The then CM Puratchi Thalaivi Jeyalalithaa also lost her seat from Bargur, hence Thirunavukkarasar was acting as the leader of opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly. Several cases were filed against Puratchi Thalaivi Jeyalalithaa, including the ongoing disproportionate wealth case in Bengaluru. Due to this, Puratchi Thalaivi Jeyalalitha was not participating in any public event and confined to Poes Garden residence. During this time, Pudukottai Assembly by-election was announced. Due to the inability of general secretary of ADMK to campaign, Thirunavukkarasr accepted the daunting task of campaigning against a massively popular and powerful DMK-TMC combine. Thirunavukkarasar tirelessly campaigned and made the DMKs task of winning the constituency As difficult as possible. The victory margin for the DMK candidate was 43000 in 1996, which was brought down to 12000 in 1997. Indeed, this election was the starting point of revival of ADMK in Tamil Nadu.[21]

Congress Relationship[edit]

Thirunavukkarasar's father Subbaraman was punchayat president and a member of Indian National Congress (INC). Thirunavukkarasar's uncle Adampur Ramanathan Servaikkarar was INC candidate for three Aranthangi assembly elections. He was a close friend of both Kamarajar and G. K. Moopanar.[22] In the 1980 parliament election DMK aligned with Congress and won the election comfortably. Subsequent to this Ramachandran's government was dissolved by the central government and assembly elections were announced. In the assembly election, Ramachandran lead ADMK won handsomely. M. G. Ramachandran wanted to have cordial relationship with the central government led by Indira Gandhi. Thirunavukkarasar was well aware of this due to his close proximity to M. G. Ramachandran. Rajya Sabha elections were announced and G K Moopanar was the candidate. However, there were doubts about the possibility of Moopanar's victory. Therefore, Madam Indira Gandhi wanted Mr R Venkatraman to talk to M. G. Ramachandran. However, Mr Moopanar didn't want the involvement of Mr Venkatraman due to personal issues. Thus, he contacted Thirunavukkarasar to find out the possibility of getting M. G. Ramachandran's support. Thirunavukkarasar arranged this meeting and Mr Moopanar comfortably won the election. This is the starting point of ADMK congress alliance, which lasted for couple of decades.[23] Madam Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of congress in 1998. In the 1999 election, no political party was willing to align with congress. Mr Thirunavukkarasar, who was the president of MGRADMK aligned with congress and campaigned with Sonia Gandhi. In this election, Mr Thirunavukkarasr lost an election for the first time in his life. However, he was happy about helping congress under the new leadership of Madam Sonia Gandhi.[24] Recently, Mr Thirunavukkarasar contested the Ramanathapuram parliament election while several congress stalwarts refused to contest the election. Mr Thirunavukkarasar was born into a congress family and have been with congress party whenever the INC is in trouble.

Personal life[edit]

Su. Thirunavukkarasar is married to Jayanthi. They have three sons and two daughters. Mr Thriunavukkarasar's marriage was conducted by M. G. Ramachandran and attended by Kalaignar Karunanidhi and Thalaivar G K Moopanar.[25] In fact, Thirunavukkarasar's marriage was the only one attended by both Puratchi Thalaivar and Kalaignar after the split in the DMK and concurrent formation of ADMK. His family functions were attended by leaders of political parties including Congress, BJP, DMK and Communists. It was also attended by Super Star Rajinikanth and several others.[26]


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