This Article is From Aug 09, 2009

Statue diplomacy brings TN, Karnataka together


It took a statue to bring together B S Yeddyurappa and M Karunanidhi -- Chief Ministers of neighbouring states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu -- on one stage. The state have seen riots in the past on issues of language and water.

Eighteen years after installation, the statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar was finally unveiled by Karunanidhi on Sunday -- a day that saw heavy security and arrests of Kannada activists.

"I am 86 years old, he is 67 years old. That's why I can call him 'Thambi' (younger brother). There is no politics in it," said M Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, who has been accused of timing the unveiling with an eye on the sizable Tamil vote ahead of local elections, returned Karunanidhi's compliment.

"I had gone to Chennai for a health check-up. The doctor told me that the Chief Minister wants to come and meet me. I was touched that such a scholar, such a great literary figure can be so simple and humble," he said.

After the unprecedented bonhomie between Yeddyurappa and M Karunanidhi at the statue unveiling function, the people of Karnataka hope that this statue diplomacy will now extend to resolve the more burning issues that Karnataka faces with Tamil Nadu, particularly on water.