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In right party, with wrong tattoo

In TN politics, it's a good idea to wear your loyalty on your sleeve. Better still, tattoo it on your arm, writes GC Shekhar.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 15:54 IST
GC Shekhar

In Tamil Nadu's politics, where leaders think nothing of falling at the supreme leader's feet to air their fealty, it's a good idea to wear your loyalty on your sleeve.

Better still, tattoo it on your arm -— as did R Indirakumari, former social welfare minister in the Jayalalithaa government.

But sometimes calculations go wrong and noble political compulsions force you to cross over to the other side.

And the past catches up with you. So, when Indirakumari met DMK chief M Karunanidhi last week to join the enemy camp, the inevitable occurred.

As she draped a shawl around the DMK leader's shoulders, she discovered to her horror shutterbugs craning to get a shot of the tattoo of former boss Jayalalithaa.

Red in the face, Indirakumari got her assistant to find a plaster with which she covered the "offending" image.

Another former AIADMK VIP Sedapatti Muthiah, the Assembly Speaker during the same term, was smarter. He wore a full-sleeved shirt when he met Karunanidhi to join the DMK early this week and no skeletons came tumbling out.

AIADMK's founder MGR used to insist that his party members tattoo the party flag on their forearms to ensure that they did not defect. But many still went back to the DMK.

"Only if you look carefully will you recognise that this is Anna, who after all is the founder of the DMK," was the famous retort of former AIADMK minister Nanjil Manoharan who rejoined the DMK in 1980.