Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

Tamil Nadu – Kerala war of words on Mullaperiyar issue

The Mullaperiyar dam issue has created a serious rift between the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. At the heart of the problem is the issue about raising the height of the dam from 136 ft to 141 ft. The Supreme Court of India has given the go ahead earlier this year to raise the height of the dam. But the government of Kerala has tried to hinder this move by raising the issue of the safety of the people in the adjoining area due to this increased dam height. Making matters worse, the Kerala government tried to ascertain the safety of the dam with the help of naval divers. The Tamil Nadu government has taken a strong exception to this unilateral move by the Kerala government and has threatened to boycott all talks.

Given that the Supreme Court of India has given a go ahead taking all issues into consideration, this delaying tactic by the Kerala government is frankly appalling. Frankly talks in New Delhi are going to be pointless as both Chief Ministers are going to hold to their respective positions. The only way to settle this dispute is to let the Supreme Court to decide.

Kalanithi Maran in Forbes list

Financial Magazine Forbes which ranks world richest people came out with a list of top 20 richest Indians. There were 2 people from Tamil Nadu in the list. Shiv Nadar of HCL is at 14th place, while Kalanithi Maran is at 20th place. According to Forbes,

Politician’s son dabbled in family’s modest publishing business before launching Sun TV when India’s satellite television market opened up in the 1990s. Sun now owns 14 channels, 4 radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Group’s April listing made Maran, who owns 90%, a billionaire. Brother Dayanidhi minister for communications and IT.

Surely with this kind of wealth politics in Tamil Nadu can’t be equal. Money plays a very important role in politics and it now looks like one side has a monumental advantage. While, Kalanithi Maran would have preferred not having this distinction, the fact that SunTV is a public company since its IPO earlier this year, he has no option but to live with this distinction.

Most Popular Tamilians

CNN-IBN conducted a poll as part of its Golden South special series and found out that Abdul Kalam was the most popular Tamilian. 32% of the respondents favored President Kalam. Others in the list included Rajnikanth at 2nd with 24%, and Dravidian movement founder EVK Periyar finished 3rd with 21%. Others in the list included music director Ilayaraja with 12%, MS Subalakshmi with 9.5% and chess player Anand with 1.9%.

From the results, it looks like CNN-IBN picked an elitist crowd for the survey. Except perhaps Periyar no politician is in the list. Popular figures like Kamaraj, MGR, and M Karunanidhi don’t figure in the list. The video and article for this survey are available on CNN-IBN’s website. What your opinion regarding the list? Do you concur with my views?

Sarath Kumar launching a new party?

Kaps from Sambhar Mafia pointed to a news article which speculates that Sarath Kumar is planing to float his own party. Sarath Kumar seems to be following in the foot steps of Vijaykanth by using his fan clubs across the state. According to the article, Sarath Kumar has apparently called for a discussion of his fan club members next week in Chennai to discuss his next course of action.

It looks like Sarath Kumar is trying to obtain the support of the Nadar community (to which he belongs) so consolidate his support. Sources point out that Sarath Kumar is holding discussions with influencial members of the Nadar community to obtain support for his new political formation. The question remains to be seen if Sarath Kumar will be able to carve out a niche for him in Tamil Nadu politics. Given his experience with the two Dravidian parties, it looks like Sarath Kumar is using this as his final step to remain ‘politically relevant’.

RIP: Kalimuthu

Former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly K Kalimuthu passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. Kalimuthu, who was 64, was survived by four sons, and five daughters. He was admitted to Apollo Hospital 10 days ago for heart ailments. He has not been in good health for the past year or so, and had to be removed from the ADMK’s list of candidates for the last assembly election. Kalimuthu has been seen by many as the #2 in the ADMK after Jayalalitha and his demise should come as a serious jolt to the party.

Jayalalitha’s and Karunanidhi’s reaction to Kalimuthu’s death,

“Kalimuthu was in the forefront in fighting for the interests of the party and worked for the development of the Tamil language till his last breath.” – Jayalalitha

“He was a good friend, a good writer and orator,” – Karunanidhi

Sarath Kumar quits ADMK

Close on the heels of his wife’s expulsion from the ADMK, Sarath Kumar quit the party stating that he wanted to devote more time to his acting career as well as the President of South India Artist Association. This move should come as no surprise since Sarath Kumar hasn’t been given any post since joining the ADMK, and moreover his wife’s expulsion should have come as a shock to him. Sarath Kumar however gave no hints about his future course of action. Many people expect him to either float a new party or join hands with Vijaykanth.

Sarath Kumar’s press release,

“I will continue to concentrate on my profession to achieve greater heights and work for the welfare of not only my industry but for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and society in general,”