The 1988 batch IAS officer, Teeka Ram Meena was in the eye of the storm when he said that Sabarimala women entry cannot be used for political gains. Congress and BJP, who aims to take on the Left parties over the religious sentiments in the issue, were very quick to react to the statement.
In a meeting followed his statements, Meena clarified that according to the Model Code of Conduct, no one can invoke god or religion to seek votes. However, the women entry can be used as a social issue as long as they do not seek vote in the name of Lord Ayyappa.
He went to the extend to warn the BJP representatives in the all-party meeting that “I am the boss” in EC office. However, even CPIM is not happy with certain actions of the CEC including his reactions in the all-party meet.
Beyond this, Meena is strict in implementing the MCC. He already ordered district collectors to send daily reports on MCC violations. EC has also begun removal of government advertisements. Changes like “special observers” for sensitive districts is also in the cards.
Who is Teeka Ram Meena, who jolted the national parties?
Hailing from the forest region of Sawai Madhopur near Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, Meena joined Kerala cadre in 1988 as Rajasthan had no vacancies in that year.
Born to a farmer Jai Ram Meena, Teeka Ram grazed cattle in the jungles of the Ranthambore National Park. Jai Ram owned a small piece of land but did not earn enough to educate all his five kids. Inspired by Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision on the importance of educations, he picked two of them, the youngest and the eldest, Teeka Ram and Ratan Lal and sent them to schools.
“My village Pura was cut off from main cities and there were no roads. My three brothers and two sisters had to help our illiterate parents. It was a hand-to-mouth existence,” Meena told the Live Mint.
Meena went to a one-teacher primary school. He had to travel 10 km which included crossing a river to reach the school. He also found time to read an English dictionary which his teacher presented him, during grazing the cattle. “That opened up a new world to me,” Meena says.
His brother joined the Indian Police Service. Inspired by him, Meena cleared IAS in his third attempt. His first assignment was in Malappuram as a sub-collector.
Before becoming the CEO of Kerala, he served in the Planning Commission and the economic advisory council of the Prime Minister apart from several regular postings in the state. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Secretary in 2017.