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I am not against Rama, says Karunanidhi

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New university: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi inaugurating Periyar Maniammai University at Vallam near Thanjavur on Saturday. K. Veeramani (right), Chancellor of the University, and Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy are in the picture.
New university: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi inaugurating Periyar Maniammai University at Vallam near Thanjavur on Saturday. K. Veeramani (right), Chancellor of the University, and Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy are in the picture.

Special Correspondent

“My opposition is only to those using his name to stall the Sethusamudram project”

THANJAVUR: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Saturday that he was not against Rama but only against those trying to stall the implementation of the Sethusamudram project in his name.

Speaking after inaugurating Periyar Maniammai University at Vallam near here, the Chief Minister said if at all there was an enemy to Rama it had to be Ravana and not him or Dravidian leaders such as Periyar, Anna, DK leader Veeramani, etc.

If we have to oppose Rama, there are a lot of books upon which we can rely. There is no need for us to use the Sethusamudram to do so. “Who are these forces who try to stall the project mentioning the name of Rama?” he asked. The need for implementing the Sethusamudram project was felt a hundred years back by economists, experts, scientists and those interested in the development of Tamil Nadu.

The project, when implemented, would bring prosperity to Tamil Nadu. It would provide a shorter route for ships.

Keeping all these in mind the DMK included it in the poll manifesto. The AIADMK also did the same. After a persistent demand by the DMK, which was an ally of the National Democratic Alliance regime led by the Bharatiya Janata Pary, the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee approved the project. “We only demanded. It was Vajpayee who gave the approval and launched it at a function at Chennai,” Mr. Karunanidhi recalled. But the project was not implemented.

When the United Progressive Alliance Government, under the guidance of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took up the project, all progressive forces supported it. Now, with only three to four months left for completion of work, some forces are trying to stop it, bringing in the name of Rama. “A ‘fatwa’ has been issued by a Hindutva leader to chop my head and cut my tongue. If my head can fetch gold to someone, I will be only ready to offer it. While this issue will be dealt with legally, the philosophy involved in this should be understood. If a development work is taken up in Tamil Nadu, some forces will go even to the extent of cutting a head to stop that. But the Sethusamudram project should be implemented at any cost. For that we have to agitate in a peaceful, non-violent manner,” he said.

Political education centre opened

Chancellor of the University K. Veeramani said a new university would be set up in the name of Karunanidhi at Thirukuvalai, the Chief Minister’s native village, in Nagapattinam district in a year’s time. He said the Kalaignar Karunanidhi Centre for Political education was also inaugurated by the Chief Minister along with the university.

Union ministers T.R. Baalu, A. Raja and S.S. Palani Manickam, State Ministers Ko. Si. Mani, Durai Murugan, Arcot N.Veersamy, S.N.M. Ubayathullah, Periyakaruppan, Mathivanan, Ponmudi, participated.

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