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Chidambaram's heady mix in TN

When he hits the campaign trail, PC transforms himself into the veritable Tamil politician, reports GC Shekhar.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 18:04 IST
GC Shekhar

When he hits the campaign trail in Tamil Nadu, finance minister P Chidambaram transforms himself into the veritable Tamil politician.

Mixing economics with the right quantum of politics, he marshals facts and figures to rebut Jayalalithaa's claims and invigorate alliance parties.

On Wednesday at Oddanchathiram town, 80 km from Madurai, while campaigning for the DMK candidate R Chakrapani, the overloaded dais shakes and sags in the middle.

After most functionaries are cleared from the stage, the Congress leader, the careful man that he is, moves the microphones to the fore corner of the stage where steps are located, before delivering his speech.

He pitches hard for the DMK's manifesto including its Rs 2 per kilo rice scheme.

"The hero of this assembly election is the DMK's manifesto. Why do you think Jayalalithaa announced free rice? Because people were excited about Kalaignar's (Karunanidhi) promise and that he would keep it without fail. She has already accepted defeat," he argues.

Just that morning he had observed that AIADMK's free rice scheme was not desirable though feasible.

Pointing to the women members of a self-help group in the audience, Chidambaram carped at Jayalalithaa's claim that the selfhelp group had germinated in her mind.

"The scheme was actually conceived during Indira Gandhi's rule in the 80s when I am not sure if Jayalalithaa had entered active politics but certainly was not in power. Most of the funds are allocated by PSU banks, which come under the Centre. Yet she misleads people that she was responsible for the SHGs," he says.

Like other central ministers from the state, Chidambaram too attacks Jayalalithaa for her confrontationist approach towards the Centre.

"No other metro was allocated Rs 1,000 crore for a single project like we did for Chennai's desalination project. Even after two years her government is yet to send us the draft proposal to claim the amount," he points out.

First Published: Apr 28, 2006 17:37 IST