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Kamaraj Award conferred on Jayanthi Natarajan

Special Correspondent

— Photo: V. Ganesan

In recognition:Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi presenting Kamaraj Award to Congress spokesperson and Member of Parliament Jayanthi Natarajan at a function in Chennai on Sunday.

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Government's Tiurvalluvar Day awards ceremony proved to be an occasion for both the DMK and the Congress to reaffirm their alliance for the next Assembly elections.

While Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan, who was conferred the Kamaraj Award, declared that DMK rule would continue for the next five years, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said if he was opening numerous educational institutions today, it was because the seed for the trend had been sown by late Chief Minister K. Kamaraj.

Describing Mr. Karunanidhi as a statesman, Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan recalled the days when late G.K. Moopanar and Mr. Karunanidhi “guided and decided the fate of the country.”

“The guidance is continuing and it will continue in the future,” she said. On his part, Mr. Karunanidhi said that though the DMK had differences of opinion with the former Chief Minister, M. Bakthavatsalam, during the days of the students' upsurge in the State, the DMK leaders always had high regard for his administrative capabilities.

The Chief Minister also narrated a few instances to drive home the point that he had good rapport with Congress leaders despite political differences.

Bakthavatsalam agreed to be part of the committee to trace the birth place of Tiruvalluvar and he visited Mr. Karunanidhi's native village Tirukuvalai to inaugurate a maternity centre braving black flag protests. And when as Chief Minister, Bakthavatsalam had agreed to unveil a portrait of Tiruvalluvar on his request, Mr. Karunanidhi said. Mr. Karunanidhi took exception to the remark describing him as “the Living Tiruvalluvar.” “Please don't compare me with the savant who had penned 1330 couplets when I am not able to write one couplet,” he said, adding that such comparisons would pave the way for unnecessary political controversies.

The awardees are Tamil scholar P. Valan Arasu (Tiruvalluvar Award), Dravidar Kazhagam treasurer K. Samidurai (Periyar Award), Congress MLA D. Yasoda (Ambedkar Award), VCK MLA D. Ravikumar (Anna Award), Tamil Scholar R. Elavarasu (Bharathidasan Award), Tamil Scholar A. Ayyasamy (Tiru-Vi-Ka Award) and R. Mathivanan (KAP Viswanatham Award). The awards carry Rs.1 lakh in cash, a gold medal and a citation.

Mr. Ravikumar said the VCK would always stand by Mr. Karunanidhi and the DMK. Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan, Information Minister Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, Tamil Development, Religious Endowments and Information Department Secretary R. Sivakumar and Director of Information and Public Relations K. Bhaskaran participated.

The Chief Minster also announced an increase in the prize amount given to writers and publishers as part of a set of annual awards. Writers will get Rs.30,000 each instead of Rs.20,000 while publishers will get Rs.10,000 instead of Rs.5,000 from this year onwards.

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