Back in Karuna fold, Maran in safe territory | india | Hindustan Times
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Back in Karuna fold, Maran in safe territory

By re-nominating Dayanidhi Maran, 42, former telecom and IT minister from Central Chennai, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, 84, has made it clear that the family feud between them, which saw Maran lose his ministership and spend 19 months in isolation, has been forgotten.

india Updated: May 13, 2009 02:14 IST
M.R. Venkatesh

The prodigal grand nephew has been welcomed back with open arms.

By re-nominating Dayanidhi Maran, 42, former telecom and IT minister from Central Chennai, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, 84, has made it clear that the family feud between them, which saw Maran lose his ministership and spend 19 months in isolation, has been forgotten.

Stalwarts of the DMK, including Karnunidhi and his son M. K. Stalin, represent various assembly segments of this constituency, making it perhaps the safest seat for the party. Maran’s father, Murasoli Maran, represented it thrice until his death.

Maran, however, is not taking chances. “My party leader has given me another opportunity and I’ll not waste it,” he told HT.

In his speeches he holds forth on his achievements as minister: inducing Nokia and Motorola to invest in Tamil Nadu, getting Bill Gates to visit Chennai. Nor does he forget his party’s efforts: the scheme to provide free colour TV set to each family, the implementation of the latest pay commission recommendations. In this wholly urban constituency, all these matter.

His main AIADMK opponent, with the unlikely name of S. M. K. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, is a lawyer and head of his party’s minorities wing. There are three others in the fray, including the Vijaykanth’s DMDK’s V.V. Ramakrishnan and the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Yunis Khan.

In earlier years Chennai faced water shortages and the DMK government’s interventions had resulted in a major scam. “It was the AIADMK which solved the problem by implementing the Veeranam project,” Jinnah keeps repeating in his campaign speeches. He also openly speculates on how long Karunanidhi’s truce with the Marans will last and advises voters that they are better off banking on him.