Three-time MLA Rajaa, man who knows how voters choose leaders, makes it to the Tamil Nadu Cabinet

Rajaa is the first minister from the Cauvery Delta in the Stalin Cabinet. He was the secretary of DMK's IT Wing.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published May 11, 2023 | 7:04 PMUpdatedMay 11, 2023 | 7:04 PM

Three-time MLA Rajaa, man who knows how voters choose leaders, makes it to the Tamil Nadu Cabinet

Three-time MLA and the DMK’s IT Wing secretary TRB Rajaa — a man who has an insight into how voters choose their leaders — was sworn in as a minister in the MK Stalin government in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, 11 May.

Governor RN Ravi administered the Mannargudi MLA the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Chief Minister Stalin and his Cabinet colleagues at a simple 10-minute ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

Later, the new Council of Ministers took an official photograph with the Governor on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan. Rajaa replaces Thangam Thennarasu as the minister for industries.

Rajaa is the son of TR Baalu, the DMK’s treasurer and parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha. Incidentally, Rajaa is the first person from the Cauvery Delta to become a minister in the Stalin-led ministry.

The 46-year-old minister was congratulated by Governor Ravi, Chief Minister Stalin, and senior leaders. Rajaa has been representing Mannargudi since 2011.

Rajaa, the researcher

Rajaa holds a doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Management from Vels University in Chennai.

TRB Rajaa

TRB Rajaa taking charge as industries minister. (Ministry of Industries/Wikimedia Commons)

His research thesis was “A Study of Voters’ Behaviour for Political Leaders’ Managerial Decision”, under the guidance of Professor N Panchanathan, head of the Department of Business Administration at Annamalai University.

Using a sample size of 2,923, Rajaa analysed voters’ behavior in selecting leaders. The sample size included 55.4 percent from villages. The research found that 35 percent of the people showed a preference to select their leader based on their competence.

Only 18 percent of the respondents, however, believed in election manifestos and other promises.

His thesis also found state administration to be one of the important yardsticks to understand people’s attitudes. It also pointed to the elected leaders’ roles and responsibilities in influencing society. The study also revealed that voters are inclined towards immediate benefit.

As a research scholar, Rajaa published two papers, “An Empirical Insight into Voter’s Perception Towards Leadership Flexibility for the Development of a Country”, and “Does Gender and Caste Influence the Selection of the Political Candidate?”

Related: PTR loses finance portfolio, gets IT

Young ministers’ brigade

Rajaa was appointed the secretary of the DMK’s IT Wing in January 2022, after the then Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan had resigned from the post. Rajaa was also the founding secretary of the party’s NRI Wing.

After DMK came to power in 2021, Rajaa was appointed a member of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission and the chairman of the Legislative Committee on Estimates.

Rajaa will join the “young ministers’ club” comprising Mathiventhan (36), Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi (45), and Udhayanidhi Stalin (45), who are all aged under 50.

Incidentally, Rajaa had moved a privilege motion against a guest of Governor Ravi’ in the Assembly.

After the Governor’s walkout from the Assembly on 9 January, one of his guests recorded the House proceedings on his mobile phone. Rajaa moved a notice of breach of privilege, and the Speaker referred the matter to the Privileges Committee.