PH Pandian, ex-Tamil Nadu speaker with ‘sky-high power’, dies
Pandian had heart-related issues and underwent treatment at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore. He was 74.Updated: Jan 04, 2020 13:48 IST
Former speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly and ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK’s) senior leader PH Pandian died at a private hospital in Chennai on Saturday due age-related ailments, sources said.
His associates said Pandian had heart-related issues and underwent treatment at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore. He was 74.
Paul Hector Pandian was one of the founding members of the AIADMK when Tamil matinee icon MG Ramachandran floated the Dravidian party after he broke away from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Pandian, a four-time MLA from his native Cheranmadevi assembly constituency, had served as the speaker between 1985 and 1989 during MGR’s last regime. He had also served as a member of Parliament from Tirunelveli Lok Sabha seat in 1999.
Pandian was known for his saying “sabanayagarukke vanalaaviya adhikaaram” or the speaker has sky-high powers.
He had used it after Tamil weekly magazine, Vikatan, published a cartoon critical of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (TNLA) under MGR. As the speaker, Pandian served a notice to the magazine’s editor.
Its editor Balasubramanian appeared before the speaker and Pandian demanded an apology. After Balasubramanian refused, Pandian ordered him to be jailed for three months. The incident during the late eighties had hit the headlines.
When the matter went to Madras High Court (MHC), it served Pandian a notice. He refused to accept the notice and claimed the speaker had sky-high powers.
After MGR’s death, Pandian backed his widow Janaki Ramachandran. But, he shifted his loyalties to J Jayalalithaa when she took over the AIADMK in her control.
He was also the first senior leader to team up with the then rebel chief minister O Panneerselvam against Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala after the AIADMK chief died.
Pandian and his son Manoj Pandian had alleged that Jayalalithaa was involved in a heated argument with someone in Poes Garden and poisoned on the day of her admission to the hospital. But they failed to consolidate their claim.
The senior leader was a Nadar and the face of the other backward class community in the Mukkulathor and Gounder-dominated AIADMK party.
Pandian was also a lawyer associated with Madras High Court. When AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa faced several cases relating to disproportionate assets, Pandian served as her legal advisor in the late nineties.
Several ministers and AIADMK leaders condoled Pandian’s death.
“It is a big loss for the AIADMK party. We could not evade our memories of PH Pandian’s stint as a TNLA speaker. It is not only a loss to AIADMK, but, also for the TN people,” fisheries minister D Jayakumar told the media.
Information minister Kadambur Raju said, “Pandian’s death will be the biggest loss to the people of southern Tamil Nadu and AIADMK.”
DMK Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate P Wilson also expressed his condolences.
“Senior Advocate and former Speaker TNLA PH Pandian is no more. My deep condolences and may his soul rest in peace,” Wilson tweeted.