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A Rajiv loyalist

Handpicked Politics wasn’t on Narayanasamy’s radar until the then prime minister entered his life. Kumkum Chadha tells more.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2009 01:02 IST
Kumkum Chadha
Kumkum Chadha
Hindustan Times

Even while tying the nuptial knot, V. Narayanasamy, then a budding lawyer, waited for the judge’s command. Had it not been for the judicial nod, he may have missed the bus.

As the story goes, when Narayanasamy was placing the mangalsutra (a string of black beads signifying marriage) around his wife’s neck, he spotted a judge. He forgot the ritual and headed towards the judge, who forewarned: “Concentrate on the ceremony, lest your wife leaves you”.

Thank God she didn’t. She stuck on braving his long absence from home and family.

“She curses me,” Narayanasamy says, dangling a rock like ruby studded in gold on his ring finger: His marriage ring.

Originally from Puducherry aka Pondicherry, Narayanasamy has a French connection. His daughter-in-law is a French national.

His son works in France while daughter, a doctor, lives in Bangalore. She studied what her father wanted to but could not — medicine.

Financial constraints inhibited Narayanasamy from being a doctor. He opted for law on grounds that it would financially give him a secure future. While studying, he got involved in the trade union movement.

Politics wasn’t then on his radar except when he worked as a poll agent for the then Lok Sabha candidate. Till then he was a bookworm and “shy type”, he says.

Enter Rajiv Gandhi and things changed.

He handpicked Narayanasamy to contest for the Rajya Sabha. “I was a youngster and he liked me,” he recalls.

Elected in 1985, Narayanasamy was part of the Rajiv Gandhi brigade. His job: to defend him when he was on the mat for the Bofors gun deal.

“Loudspeaker” is how Dr Ratnakar Pande, his colleague and former MP, described Narayanasamy. “He spoke forcefully in Parliament and took on the Opposition.”

Seen as a “solid organisation man”, Narayanasamy’s mettle on the ground was tested for the first time this year when he successfully contested the Lok Sabha. Till then he was a loyalist whose support was from the party leadership.

“This election,” says former minister and DMK MLA S.P. Siva Kumar, “has brought him closer to the people.”

Though minister for the second time, Narayanasamy’s entry into the Lok Sabha is being seen as the first step in the direction of his elevation as Puducherry CM — an ambition he is said to have nursed.

Whether his weekly visits to the temple have anything to do with this is tough to say. Query him and he is denial mode. Understandably.