Three oil ministers become two as آ‘Ponnuآ’ quits

Vol 4, PW 26 (14 Feb 01) People & Policy

Imagine a country where you have three oil ministers, two of whom do no work and are little more than decorative items.

Yes, India! Until last week we had three elected politicians, each holding the title of oil minister. Thankfully the number has reduced to two, with the resignation of Etienne Ponnuswamy, whose Pattali Makal Katchi party, an insignificant group of 5 MPs from Tamil Nadu, announced it was withdrawing support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance of Prime Minister Vajpayee on 5th February.

Reason: it wants to fight upcoming local elections in Tamil Nadu alongside the BJP's sworn opponent Jayalalitha Jayaram. Ponnuswamy held little power, did no work and was generally ignored during his time in the ministry.

He won't be missed. A mild-mannered, simple and honest man, it's understood much of the 'Commercial Activity' associated with his position was carried out by underlings drafted in by the party high command from Chennai.

Anticipating his resignation, Ponnuswamy stayed in Delhi instead of accompanying his boss Naik on the NELP-2 roadshow to Tokyo and Singapore.