CHENNAI: Is former Union minister P Chidambaram planning to come down to State politics after spending over three decades in national politics? Appears so, if you were to go by his new project, ‘Ezhuthu’, a Tamil literary forum, which is to be launched early next week. Perhaps he hopes to reinvent his identity as a Tamil politician pushing for the development of Tamil and its literature.
According to Chidambaram’s son Karti, the major task of the forum is to bring out new works of promising writers and poets. They could be poems, stories, novels or articles that enhance Tamil literature, Karti said. Prominent figures in Tamil literature like poets Vairamuthu, M Mehta, besides Tamil scholar Avvai Natarajan will play a major role in the forum to be launched on November 3. Interestingly, both Vairamuthu and Mehta are known supporters of DMK, with which Chidambaram shares friendly vibes.
Chidambaram did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and pushed his heir Karti into the race. After the party’s rout, his supporters wanted him to strengthen his base in TN from where he was sent to Parliament as early as 1984. With the Congress image taking a battering during the Lankan military offensive against LTTE in 2009 and the alleged role of UPA government in which Chidambaram was a member, the veteran leader has grown conscious of the need to develop a pro-Tamil image for himself in the State.
The growth of the Dravidian movement is closely linked with its close association with Tamil literature, with which the Congress lost touch even in the early fifties. Chidambaram’s attempt marks a new approach for his party at a time when he is looking to head the TN Congress Committee or be projected as the chief ministerial candidate.
His recent remarks that a person from non-Nehru family could head Congress at the national level betrays his frustration as the high command is cold to his plea for a prominent role in the State, his critics within the party said. Read in that context, the literary forum could be a launch pad for Chidambaram, if he chooses to quit Congress and form his own political outfit, they contended. Superstar Rajinikanth too has been invited for the inaugural, but it is not known whether he will make it, as he is busy with work related to his film ‘Linga’.