CHENNAI:A promise to restore ‘Kamaraj Rule’ in Tamil Nadu until recently was a euphemism for re-establishing Congress rule in Tamil Nadu, notwithstanding the party’s shrinking reach in the State. Now, the Congress finds itself busy countering efforts by other political
parties to appropriate the Kamaraj legacy.
Quite curiously, these parties are battling for a legacy which the present generation cannot even relate to as nearly four decades of Dravidian rule has obliterated memories of the King Maker of humble origins. ironically, those vying to appropriate the late Congress stalwart have hardly upheld any of the political and public values that he stood for.
Giving the jitters to Congress, the BJP, PMK and TMC have started to vocally woo people with a promise of establishing ‘Kamaraj Rule’ if elected to power in the next Assembly polls. If PMK founder S Ramadoss harped on this theme at the party’s recent Kongu zonal conference, the BJP has promised to name the mid-day meal scheme in the country after Kamaraj. The party even organised a function to commemorate the late leader’s birth anniversary at his native Virudhunagar district. Not to be left behind, TMC leader G K Vasan is banking on his late father G K Moopanar’s close association with Kamaraj.
Explaining his new-found love for Kamaraj rule, PMK’s Chief Ministerial face Anbumani told Express that the party has been campaigning for prohibition, a cause espoused by the late Kamaraj. “Kamaraj is known for providing a corruption-free administration. He was responsible for putting Tamil Nadu on the educational and industrial maps of the country. We too will give priority to education and health schemes and focus on the industrial development of the State. Our administration will be transparent and clean like that of Kamaraj,” he maintained.
BJP leader and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan has claimed that leaders in the saffron party share Kamaraj’s traits of hard work, honesty, sacrifice and patriotism and hence they alone could give a clean government. According to him, the Congress has no right to project Kamaraj as the latter had opposed Indira Gandhi till the end.
Countering this in his own inimitable style, TNCC chief EVKS Elangovan said on Sunday that by hailing Kamaraj, the Congress’ rivals have conceded that the late leader provided a clean administration. “Congress alone can provide Kamaraj rule,” he claimed.
Another Congress leader, Idayathullah, said the BJP had no locus standi to invoke the name of Kamaraj to pursue its political ambitions as the RSS had attempted to assault Kamaraj in Delhi, accusing him of opposing the ban on cow slaughter.
However, a BJP leader argued that Kamaraj had aligned with the Jan Sangh in 1971 opposing the Congress. Hence, it would be only legitimate for the party to lay claim to his legacy.