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Minister on the move

M.K. Alagiri is clear about his priorities. Family comes first and he’ll fly in the face of criticism if need be.

india Updated: May 13, 2010 23:40 IST

All those who are critical of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M.K. Alagiri’s frequent flier propensities are missing a crucial point. It’s not that the minister wants to be airborne every third day, it’s that he is a family man. And as we Indians know, courtesy Karan Johar, it’s all about loving your family. Yes, many may kvetch and grumble that he took off on a jaunt to the Maldives during the budget session, but please note that he paid for everything himself. And so what if he has airdashed to Chennai 61 times from May to December 2009? Not only was he demonstrating his faith in the domestic carrier but also showing what a devoted son he is to the DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi. After all, without daddy, dear Alagiri would be rattling around Marina beach on a good day.

So, put a lid on it all of you who think this is carrying filial fondness too far. But his love for his kith and kin is not confined to Chennai. Now he is about to add to his six international forays since he became minister with a trip to the US to, you guessed, visit family members. In the process, he will miss the first anniversary bash of UPA-II. But then given his blink and you’ll miss him appearances in Delhi, no one’s likely to miss him. We think he is being considerate in staying away from the capital for such long periods. You see, the poor man is not comfortable in either Hindi or English. He does not want the government to incur the expense of hiring an interpreter for him.

What about all the air miles he has notched up, you may ask. That is in the larger cause of family and since his family is a crucial part of the government, he’s, in effect, acting for the greater good of the nation. As for his work in the ministry, for God’s sake, you can’t, like our cricketers, expect him to travel so much and still be on top of things all the time. Really, sometimes expectations can be so unrealistic.