This Week Tamil Nadu: Jayalalithaa unveils a statue

Jayalalithaa unveils a statue

Tamil Nadu's arch rivals have inaugurated a statue each in moves that were as much political as personal tributes. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa unveiled a statue of Col John Pennycuick, the legendary English engineer behind the making of the Mullaiperiyar dam. Pennycuick went as far as investing his own money, which he raised by selling his estate and even his wife's jewellery, into the fulfilment of a centuries-old dream of a dam across the river Periyar and serving the irrigation needs of thousands of acres of land that had lain barren till then. In a state where water is an emotional issue, Jaya announced the memorial during a raging water row with Kerala, and amid her allegations about Karunanidhi having failed to protect Tamil Nadu's interests.

...and so does Karunanidhi

The other statue was inaugurated by Karunanidhi. The DMK chief never loses an opportunity to claim that he was a follower of communism, though this is never accepted by comrades who have had a love-hate relationship with him and his party. Karunanidhi unveiled a statue of veteran communist leader Gopu at the party headquarters, Anna Arivalayam. This comes while he feuds with CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan and his CPI counterpart D Pandian, who is a known Jayalalithaa supporter. Stressing the camaraderie he shared with Gopu, Karunanidhi said the late communits leader's family had requested that the statue be placed at Arivalayam and unveiled by Karunanidhi himself.

Fare in chennai, foul in delhi

When the railway ministry announced hikes in fares, some of the loudest criticism came from Jayalalithaa. To residents of Tamil Nadu, the chief minister's criticism carried an irony they could not possibly miss. Jaya had increased bus fares considerably in 2011, one of her first moves after assuming power, apart from hiking power tariff and milk prices. The bus fare hike had been unexpected and many daily commuters said then that they had to struggle to arrange the extra money. To complete the irony, the hike in bus fares, like that in rail fares now, came after a decade. Support or opposition to such increases depends only on which side of power one is on. Karunanidhi's DMK is a constituent in the UPA government at the Centre.

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