Ever since he lost power in May 2011, DMK president M Karunanidhi has been indulging in nitpicking, targeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, through routine statements. Though Jayalalithaa had been countering all allegations, last week, she took a trip down memory lane to point out that Karunanidhi had committed a historic blunder in 1970 by giving up on the Cauvery water dispute.
In earlier instances too she had exposed Karunanidhi by enlightening people on similar harsh facts. Jayalalithaa highlighted that the controversial island of Katchatheevu was acceded to Sri Lanka when Karunanidhi was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 1974. Soon after Jayalalithaa announced that the financial assistance under Advocates Relief Fund would be raised to Rs 5.25 lakh from `lakh at the sesquicentennial of the Madras High Court, Karunanidhi said orders for the hike had been issued during his tenure. Coming down heavily on Karunanidhi for spreading ‘false information’.
Last week, she went a step ahead and touched a raw nerve by urging Karunanidhi to stop his doublespeak in the interest of the people. She also said: “Whatever steps I took to safeguard the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu has prompted Karunanidhi to oppose it by issuing a contradictory statement, laced with meaningless arguments.”
Then she listed a few instances. Apart from Cauvery, her list had Karunanidhi’s doublespeak on the Koodankulam imbroglio, the power shortage in the state and the diesel price hike. He said: “Karunanidhi should clarify whether his son M K Alagiri, a member of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, which gave the nod for diesel price hike, attended the meeting that decided on the recent price hike. Did he oppose the move or supported it? Or did he fail to attend the meeting?”
Such sharp and pointed salvos fired at Karunanidhi thoroughly exposed his nature to find fault with the government’s moves recklessly. He got it from Jayalalithaa when he tried to blame her for ordering the restoration of the Anna Arch in Chennai after highway department officials could not pull it down and saying that the order to demolish it would have been issued without her knowledge. Then Jayalalithaa had asked Karunanidhi if he was aware of the way government departments work.
When Karunanidhi wondered what happened to the Rs 500 crore welfare package that the government had promised for Koodankulam and surrounding villages, her retort, which was also part of the fusillade last week, was that it would be done once normalcy returned to the region.
In the war of words, Jayalalithaa has been having an upper hand as her statements, unlike that of Karunanidhi’s, are not flippant and not aimed at just attacking him. Most of them, reveal the truth of the past and present, too.