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Wall Street Rockstar Takes Over As TN Finance Minister, Sends Expectations Soaring

Of the charmed circle of MK Stalin’s cabinet, the new Finance Minister,  Palanivel Thiagarajan is seen as a Wall Street poster boy, with his MIT Sloan School credentials, stints at Lehman Brothers (ahem, a not so bespoken qualification), and his stint at StanChart, Singapore. But above all his political DNA and public service provenance is impeccable. Born to wealth, grandson of a Justice Party Leader who was Tamil Nadu CM in the late 30s, and son of PTR Palanivel Rajan, former Speaker of TN Assembly and a cornerstone of DMK strength in Madurai. The famous Meenakshi Amman is the family Deity for their unshakable faith.  Palanivel Thiagarajan has a compelling telegenic presence. Add to this public profile mix, an American wife in the correctly saree clad Margaret Thiagarajan and two adorable sons Palani and Vel and you have the perfect formula for newsworthy curiosity. But don’t let all these optics divert your attention from what the newly minted Finance Minister is facing; a never before debt ridden and fiscal deficit reality in the second most industrialised and developed state in India. PTR has to grapple with the frightening Covid, face the problems of a nearly 5 lakh crore debt and a catastrophic drop in production and new jobs. Definitely a hot seat to cut one’s teeth as a finance minister. Goddess Meenakshi may be invoked with much faith by this family.