Besides being the first legislative election since the demise of political giants Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly polls will also witness an unprecedented fashion of entry of the public service officers into active politics. Fixing politics as their trajectory, the bureaucrats are inflowing into heated grounds to form a new political party or to contest in the assembly polls representing the existing party.
In line with that, in what has become a crucial development in the inflow of bureaucrats to politics, former IAS officer U Sagayam has now confirmed that he will enter politics. He unveiled his decision while addressing his followers at a political meeting that was held at Adambakkam, Chennai on Sunday. In his address which swiftly gained attention across and beyond the state, Sagayam requested his followers to clear the clouds of caste and religion in politics and avoid the fashion of hero worship.
Reiterating his notion of serving people, the former bureaucrat has asked his followers to stay simple and honest like former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu K Kamaraj, CN Annadurai, and former minister Kakkan. The meeting had garnered hundreds of his followers from across the state and in the midst of them, he announced his political party when he was speculated with such announcement. Though Sagayam confirmed his political entry, it is still unclear whether he will float his own party or join an existing party.
His decision of entering politics has come months after he resigned from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), ending the decades-long bureaucracy. Last October, he had applied for the VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme) to the government seeking to release him from the duties and services, while he still has got three years left to mark his actual retirement period. While there were several speculations around his decision of retiring from the service, it was said that he has planned to continue his campaign against corruption and to serve society through his 'Makkal Pathai', a non-profit organization that he founded with the vision of building an honest Tamil society.
Sagayam has been a reputed civil servant and well known across and beyond the state for his effective and tenacious leadership, his service to the people, and his administration and services that he rendered to the nation. Sagayam has earned an immense reputation from the state for his leadership and audacity to stand against corruption regardless of his post. In over three decades of his civil service, Sagayam has been known for his anti-corruption campaign and activities and he had strongly spoken about how corruption erodes society and justice. Throughout his career, he has got transferred nearly thirty times and held various potent posts in the Tamil Nadu government.
After clearing the Civil Services Examination, he had started his civil service in 1989 and he was largely known for his role as the District Collector of Madurai. During his term as the Madurai District Collector, Sagayam had unearthed the unprecedented Granite scam that had shocked the state. The scam had a direct involvement of many biggies and politicians. In May 2012, Sagayam investigated reports of illegal granite quarrying in Madurai which exhumed several revelations against the political leaders. He had unearthed the scam that is worth Rs 16,000 crore and days later, he was transferred from his position and appointed as the managing director of Co-Optex.
He then got transferred from Co-optex in 2014 and first, he was appointed as the Commissioner of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy and two days later, he was appointed as the vice-chairman of Science City in Chennai. He had been serving in Science city for the past six years till he moved his VRS. Earlier in the timeline of his VRS, the reports said Sagayam thought that he has been neglected and avoided by the government and he wasn't given any important posts and responsibilities for the past six years, following which he had decided to quit from the public service as a bureaucrat.
It was also said that he had applied for premature retirement to enter politics and contest in the upcoming polls. Makkal Pathai, a trust he is leading, has gained significant attention from the people for its community-based works, and according to reports, Sagayam would form his trust as a political party to lead his own way instead of joining the existing one. As his announcement has come two months ahead of the crucial assembly polls, it has drawn major attention to witnessing the entry of another bureaucrat and stirred a debate on how he would construct his track for the high voltage race.
It must be noted that Tamil Nadu had seen the entry of some top bureaucrats into active politics earlier. Former IPS officer AG Mourya had entered politics and joined Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam while former IPS officer Annamalai had recently joined the Central ruling BJP. Annamalai has been serving as the Vice-President of the Tamil Nadu BJP unit and is expected to contest in the polls. Adding to them, former IAS officer Santhosh Babu had recently joined Makkal Needhi Maiam and became a close adviser to Kamal Haasan. Santhosh Babu will also be contesting in the upcoming polls.