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Retaining Senthil Balaji In Cabinet Setting A 'Bad Example', Says Palaniswami

Responding to a question on Balaji continuing in the Cabinet, Palaniswami said it was "laughable". 

AIADMK interim chief Edapaddy K Palaniswami
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AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday kept up the attack on Chief Minister M K Stalin over the arrest of his Cabinet colleague V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate, and said his continuing in the council of ministers is setting a "bad example". 

In the past, then DMK and AIADMK ministers were relieved from the respective cabinets led by the late M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa when they faced any cases, he said. 

Addressing reporters at Attur in the district, the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly also took on the ruling DMK over the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility (NEET), saying it was notified during the Congress-led UPA regime, in which the Draividan party was a key constituent. His party has been consistent in opposing the central qualifying exam, he said. 

Responding to a question on Balaji continuing in the Cabinet, Palaniswami said it was "laughable". 

"It is wrong to retain in the Cabinet someone who is arrested for corruption," he said. 

"There is a political decency in Tamil Nadu and that should be respected. A minister has been arrested (by the ED) and is under custody... We see it as a bad example. People are expecting DMK President and Chief Minister Stalin to relieve Senthil Balaji from the Cabinet (to uphold) political decency," he added. 

Balaji was arrested on June 14 by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a cash-for-jobs scam when he was transport minister between 2011-15 in the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK Cabinet. 

The AIADMK has been demanding that Balaji, now a minister without portfolio, be removed from the Cabinet.

To a question, Palaniswami said AIADMK's chances were bright to win all 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry segment in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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