Deftly mixing Oscar winner A.R. Rahman’s musical rhapsody with the UPA’s five-year-performance, the DMK-Congress combine on Saturday sought to drown the Opposition’s war cry over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue by raising the pitching on the Ram Sethu row.
Rahman’s popular tune Ella Pugazhum Iravan Oruvanukke (All Glory To The One God), modified to broadcast the UPA’s achievements, launched the DMK-led front’s Lok Sabha poll campaign at a huge rally in Central Chennai constituency.
DMK chief M. Karunanidhi found it strange that the Sethusamudram project, which had found favour in the AIADMK manifesto in 2001 and 2004, had now been dumped. He charged that party boss J. Jayalalithaa had entered into a secret deal with the “concerned people in Sri Lanka” to scuttle the project to ensure Colombo port’s interests were not affected. If the project were to be implemented, Indian ships would not need to circumnavigate Colombo.
Appealing to the people, he said: “If you give a mandate to the AIADMK, which vows to scrap this dream project of leaders like the late Kamaraj and Annadurai and with immense economic benefits for Tamil Nadu, it will be suicidal for us.”
Speaker after speaker trashed the AIADMK manifesto declaring that the Sethusamudram project will be scrapped if it came to power.
The DMK-Congress speakers asserted that the project has been a “150-year-old-dream of the Tamils” and sought to turn the table against Jayalalithaa by painting her intent to abandon it as being “anti-Tamil” and against Tamil Nadu’s interests. The project, taken up under the UPA regime, will create a continuous navigational channel connecting the country’s east and west coasts.
Veteran Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani, referring to Jayalalithaa’s fast to express solidarity with the sufferings of the Lankan Tamils, said the people “cannot be fooled” by such gestures.
Dalit leader Thol. Thirumavalavan of the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) dubbed the AIADMK-Left-MDMK-PMK alliance “artificial and a bundle of contradictions”. Other allies of Jayalalithaa, he said, including the Left parties, were all for implementing the Sethusamudram project and had opposed stalling the mega project on grounds of “religious beliefs”.