In the heat and dust of elections 2009, we have come to accept that our political worthies will make sensational statements. But even going by the somewhat abysmal standards of discourse that have characterised this election, DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi’s good conduct certificate to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo . Prabhakaran is a shocker. Calling Prabhakaran a good friend, the DMK leader goes on to say that he would be deeply saddened if the former were killed in Sri Lanka. Prabhakaran, who prides himself on his brutal and savage methods of fuelling militancy in the island nation, is likely to be surprised by Mr Karunanidhi’s attempts to portray him as some sort of modern-day Robin Hood.
If Mr Karunanidhi was hoping to notch up a few extra votes in the state with his ringing endorsement, he is barking up the wrong tree. The Sri Lankan army’s offensive has all but put paid to Tamil Eelam. The Tamil cause is no longer a decisive electoral issue in Tamil Nadu except with mavericks like Vaiko. Mr Karunanidhi is a seasoned politician. He should know better than to praise a man who is a proclaimed offender in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Prabhakaran’s involvement in the murder is in no doubt — he himself has termed it a monumental blunder on the part of the LTTE. The Congress has scrambled for cover terming the remarks as being Mr Karunanidhi’s personal opinions. But there can be no justification for someone of Mr Karunanidhi’s stature making so-called personal opinions on such a sensitive issue public in an atmosphere surcharged by the elections.
With post-poll alliances still up in the air, Mr Karunanidhi is making it difficult for the Congress to have any truck with him. His remarks that some within the LTTE may be terrorists but absolving Prabhakaran of blame smacks of naivete not expected from someone as wily as Mr Karunanidhi. The LTTE with its murderous insurgency has violated every human right in the book. It has brought disrepute to the Tamil cause. At a time when it is reviled the world over, it is decidedly odd that Mr Karunanidhi should come out all guns blazing in its favour. If this is some clever political ploy by Mr Karunanidhi, all we can say is that he is being too clever by half.