Taking politics to New Delhi

ON TAMIL Nadu Express from Chennai to New Delhi and back, it is a long captive session on the politics of the times.

The sensational events of the week that threatened to become a political storm, turned into a ``Question Time India'' on rails.

Passengers were of course primarily happy that the goings on had not affected the running of the train itself, as they dipped into their packets of potato chips and sipped `garm chai' or coffee as they rued the events of the week.

With the television clippings and their impressions fresh in their mind and coupled with their own strong political views, a couple of policemen travelling on the train were politically correct and thus openly sympathetic about the manner in which the former Chief Minister was arrested. When at times in their excitement, they got too loud, their wives had to nudge at them asking them to speak in lower tones, ``This train is full of your people, and you'll get into trouble''.

While on the onward journey to New Delhi the discussions were quite sympathetic to Mr. Karunanidhi, the trend seemed to change dramatically, with the comments centred on the television war featuring different versions of the events of Saturday morning.

Whether this way or that, Tamil Nadu was in the limelight across the length and breadth of the country.

The grand finale was when this also provided the USP for the newspaper hawker at Nagpur which still rings - ``Newspaapaar... Newspapaar... Taimes of India... Industhan Taimes... GaramaGaram TamiilNaadu news.... Jayalalithaa... Karunanidhi... Tamiil Nadu Ka Samachar... Newspaapaar... Newspapaar.''

Luckily, the issue got defused, before the Vajpayee- Musharraf summit, which would otherwise have been pushed to the backburner, someone said.

By Akila Dinakar