Jayalalithaa locks horns with Karuna over New Year plans

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Chennai, Apr 7: Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa seem to be in a mood to oppose anything and everything proposed by her opponent and former CM Karunanidhi, be it his reforms or ideology. An instance for the same was felt when she did just that when she reiterated that the Tamil New Year was celebrated on the first day of Chithirai (mid-April) and not at the birth of Thai (January 14).

She has gone one step ahead to nail down the matter by ordering a grand celebration by her government on Apr 13. The grandiose celebration will be personally kicked off by her at the Madras University centenary auditorium in accordance with Tamil tradition and culture.

During the DMK regime led by Karunanidhi, the New Year festivities were shifted to the day considered the birth of Thai (Tamil month) from the first day of Chithirai. The Tamil New Year day was shifted in 2008 by the DMK regime. Even then, Jayalalithaa had promised that the New Year day will be reinstated as the first day of Chithirai when she comes back to power. Many Tamilians had backed her stand.

The New Year this time around falls on Apr 13 since it is a leap year. Usually it falls on Apr 14. This New Year is special for Jayalalithaa as this is her first New Year since the AIADMK came into power.

In a move to enlighten people on the need for celebrating New Year on the first day of Chithirai, the AIADMK govt intends to organize a Kavi Arangam (poetry session), Patti Manram (debate) and Karutharangam (seminar). Sources have claimed that Jayalalithaa will personally be attending the celebration in the evening and will later honor Tamil scholars who have contributed to the development of the Tamil language and culture.

The first thing that the Tamil Nadu CM did after storming to power was to enact legislation in August, repealing the Tamil Nadu Tamil New year (Declaration) Act, 2008, in a direct snub to her rival, Karunanidhi. This led to the official declaration of the Tamil New Year as the first day of Chithirai and not the birth of Thai. She had asserted the stand by saying “people’s faith cannot be changed through laws.”

Jayalalithaa had alleged that the DMK government had changed the date of the New Year only to stress that he alone loved Tamils and the Tamil Language. She also stated that he did the same for self-publicity that led to hurting people’s sentiments.

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