Karuna praises Chidambaram amid calls for bigger role

Lavishing praise on Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, DMK chief M Karunanidhi Saturday said he was among the few who had a place in his heart.

Chennai: Lavishing praise on Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, DMK chief M Karunanidhi Saturday said he was among the few who had a place in his heart as the senior Congress leader was virtually projected by some speakers at a function as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate.
The DMK patriarch himself made a reference in his speech to the loud applauses and cheers from the audience whenever speakers expressed their wish to see a `dhoti-clad` Tamilian occupying the Prime Minister`s post, an apparent reference to Chidambaram.
Calling Chidambaram one of the few who had a "place in my heart," Karunanidhi traced his political career starting as a Minister of State in the early 1980s till his present position.

"What next? You (the audience) have expressed your aspirations through your applause and cheers. Some speakers spoke about a dhoti-clad Tamilian becoming Prime Minister. So, that also answers the question regarding a saree-wearing Tamil becoming Prime Minister," he said in an apparent reference to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who has also set her eyes on a bigger role at the national level.

Chidambaram sat in the front row among the audience and did not speak at the function where Karunanidhi released the book titled "Chidambaram: Oru Paarvai", a compilation of speeches by various personalities about the Congress leader.

Earlier, speakers including actor Kamal Hasan and renowned Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu, said Chidambaram fitted the bill to play a bigger role.

Kamal Hasan said he had the right to believe Chidambaram would scale further heights from being a Finance Minister. "I hope he gets to play a bigger role."

Vairamuthu also made similar remarks with other speakers
expressing their desire for a "dhoti-clad Tamil politician" leading the nation.
The tone was set by the Editor of the book `Ilakiya` Natarajan when he said in his welcome address that Chidambaram was capable of becoming a Prime Minister.

Seeking the help of Chidambaram in implementation of the controversial Sethusamudram shipping channel project, which would faciliate a shorter navigational channel through the Palk Strait, Karunanidhi said his name would be etched in history should he play an active role in this matter.

Karunanidhi wished the Finance Minister played a bigger role for the sake of implementation of the project which has run into rough weather following objections over the proposed demolition of the mythical `Ram Sethu` or Adam`s Bridge.

Recalling that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone for the project in the presence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi a few years ago during DMK rule, Karunanidhi said it was now gathering dust.

"We all, including Chidambaram, should take a vow for the implementation of the project as it will augur well for the nation`s economic development besides helping big ships cut down their (journey) duration," he said.

Tamil superstar Rajnikanth was also present at the function where the first copy of the book was received by Chidambaram`s mother Lakshmi.

Earlier, a two-minute silence was observed in remembrance of rape victims following an appeal by the Finance Minister in the backdrop of the death of 23-year old victim of Delhi gangrape.