TN politics rides on Tamil | delhi | Hindustan Times
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TN politics rides on Tamil

When the Lok Sabha polls were fought a year ago, the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, who were displaced by the 26-year-old ethnic war, was a sticky issue. But it failed to make an emotive impact on voters.

delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2010 01:21 IST
Shekhar Iyer

When the Lok Sabha polls were fought a year ago, the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, who were displaced by the 26-year-old ethnic war, was a sticky issue. But it failed to make an emotive impact on voters.

Although the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils remains an issue, the cause of promoting the Tamil language is becoming a subject of competitive politics in Tamil Nadu.

With the assembly polls due in May and the Opposition gunning for Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for doing “little” for the cause of Tamil and doing “even littler” for the Sri Lankan Tamils, the four-day Tamil jamboree has strong political overtones.

The politics over Tamil saw a group of AIADMK leaders call on President Pratibha Patil four days ago to press for Tamil as the official language of Madras High court. Karunanidhi countered the move by saying he had had already spoken to Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily about it.

From the days of anti-Hindi protests by the DMK, which helped it oust the Congress in the 1967 polls, local leaders of all hues have harped on “Tamil pride”.

Senior DMK leaders have told HT that Karunanidhi’s mega event is to show that nobody has done as much for the Tamil language as “Kalaignar” could do.

Karunanidhi’s political rise is attributed to his powerful Tamil oratory and writings under the DMK’s campaign for Tamil pride in the 1960s.

“He looks at the 2010 event as his last show. That is before he decides on the timing of the state polls,” said a DMK functionary before heading for Coimbatore.

Upset with the attention the event was garnering, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa dubbed it a show of Karunanidhi’s family’s “rule”. Eight similar world conferences had been organised by previous chief ministers, including herself, she added.

Karunanidhi has ensured that the event resembles the rainbow coalition that he has kept going in the state. Key Union Ministers like P. Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee and political leaders including Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja have been roped in.