Updated: July 8, 2021 5:09:29 pm
Dindigul I Leoni, a popular talk show host who has been a member of the DMK for several years, has been appointed head of the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.
The corporation is responsible for publishing, printing, and selling books free of cost to the government and government-aided schools, and also to private schools at a rate fixed by the government. It has been producing books for English and Tamil medium syllabi for students of Classes I to XII. The post was previously held by former AIADMK MLA B Valarmathi.
The appointment of Leoni has evoked a mixed response. PMK youth-wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss urged the government to withdraw its decision. Taking to Twitter, he said Leoni, who has been regularly making derogatory remarks against women, should be replaced by a qualified educationist. He said appointing a person like Leoni is a disgrace to the post.
Just before the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections earlier this year, Leoni, during a campaign rally in Coimbatore, remarked that women have become “fat like barrels” after drinking foreign cows’ milk.
தமிழ்நாடு பாடநூல் நிறுவனம் மற்றும் கல்வியியல் பணிகள் கழகத்தின் தலைவராக திண்டுக்கல் ஐ.லியோனி நியமிக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறார். பெண்களை இழிவுப்படுத்தி பேசுவதையே பிழைப்பாகக் கொண்ட ஒருவரை இந்த பதவியில் அமர்த்துவதை விட, அப்பதவியை மோசமாக அவமதிக்க முடியாது!
— Dr ANBUMANI RAMADOSS (@draramadoss) July 8, 2021
Though there has been criticism, some have also said the position has been given to Leoni based on his capabilities — he served as a school teacher in a higher secondary school for over 25 years before becoming a public speaker.
Addressing reporters in Chennai, Leoni thanked Chief Minister M K Stalin for providing him the opportunity, and said he will take steps to make necessary changes to the syllabi to ensure students are not pressured. “I have been given a bigger responsibility of preparing the syllabus based on the Samacheer Kalvi method brought by late leader Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi). I am hoping to bring more fresh ideas,” he said.
He also said that from the next academic year, textbooks published by the corporation would use the term ‘Union government’ instead of ‘Central government’.
Commenting on Anbumani’s remarks against him, Leoni said people have taken just one part of his speech and framed false accusations against him. “… few have made a big deal out of it without seeing the whole speech… As far as Anbumani’s remarks are concerned, I have not passed any demeaning comments against women. He has passed comments which are much worse against a former chief minister,” he claimed.
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