CHENNAI: Even as MDMK chief Vaiko reserved scathing criticism for DMK chief M Karunanidhi, his tone was more tempered when it came to his critique of AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Vaiko’s speech at a public meeting in Thiruvanmiyur, to mark the beginning of his party’s 19th year, was uncharacteristically soft, but touched a nerve of the audience with its poignance.
A short while after Vaiko started his speech, police officials could be seen uncomfortably milling about near the stage, as the public meeting extended way beyond the 10 pm deadline for such events in the city.
Even so, the crowd of about 2,500 stayed put to listen to Vaiko, as he attacked the DMK and its patriarch Karunanidhi on multiple fronts ranging from the betrayal of Tamils over the Eelam issue, corruption, family politics and what Vaiko claimed was a belittlement of the movement of Periyar and Anna.
Vaiko criticised Jayalalithaa and her government in not as harsh terms, especially over their conduct during the recent bypolls in Sankarankoil. “The scene and the rulers might have changed. But the behaviour remains the same. The ruling party distributed around `70 crore in cash to buy votes. They have done what they criticised the previous government of doing in Thirumangalam,” alleged Vaiko.
He used the platform to urge the government to become more accessible to the people, and emulate the examples of Kamaraj and Annadurai in the process.
In a speech that had a reference to the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils and the genocide leading up to the end of the island nation’s civil war, Vaiko maintained a less belligerent line than usual.