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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Karunanidhi in a beastly bind

Even passing remarks can be twisted out of context in the electioneering heat as the DMK chief discovered.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 14:44 IST


Even passing remarks can be twisted out of context in the heat of electioneering as DMK chief M Karunanidhi discovered.

Recently the spectacle of Forward Bloc candidates being threatened or withdrawing their candidature under pressure from the AIADMK had prompted Karunanidhi to remark at an election meeting at Usliampatti: "When panthers can have a free run why cannot the lions?"

He was referring to Dalit Panthers, an ally of the ruling AIADMK campaigning freely while the Lion (the Forward Bloc symbol) was being intimidated.

Though Karunanidhi was merely trying to placate the Thevar voters, who form the backbone of the FB, his opponents immediately accused him of fomenting caste tension in south Tamil Nadu.

"Does Karunanidhi want Dalits and Thevars, living as brothers, to take up arms against each other?" asked MDMK's Vaiko.

Pressed for a clarification, Karunanidhi asked, "If beastly communities clash what can I do?" referring to people with violent intent.

Again his words were taken out of context. Posters sprang up in Madurai and other towns wanting to know: "How can he describe the communities of South Tamil Nadu as beasts?"

To make matters worse, a Dalit from Madurai filed a complaint in a Madurai court charging Karunanidhi with attempting to create differences between two caste groups.

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 14:44 IST