As statue unveils, neighbours smile

123Bangalore: “The two brothers have set a precedent. There is no politics in this. Chief ministers of other states should emulate this,’’ said Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, scripting a new chapter in TN-Karnataka relations along with his Karnataka counterpart B S Yeddyurappa here on Sunday.

When Karunanidhi pressed the remote-control button to unveil the statue of Tamil philosopherpoet Thiruvalluvar at the Neelakantan park at Ulsoor, the packed crowd became euphoric applauding, shouting and screaming with joy. Crackers added to the celebration. Similar scenes are expected in Chennai on August 13, when Kannada saint-poet Sarvagna’s statue will be unveiled.

Both Karunanidhi and Yeddyurappa realized the impact of ‘statue diplomacy’ and knew they were not only ending the 18-year stand-off on the issue, but building bridges between the two linguistic groups, Kannadig as and Tamilians.They spoke in one voice, setting the joyous mood:“It is a historic occasion. It is not just the unveiling of a statue, but the opening up of hearts of people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.’’ The unveiling of the statues is expected to ease the strained relations between the two states.

The DMK patriarch said the unveiling was a message that “we are one,’’ and thanked Yeddyurappa. “I had decided 18 years ago, when the controversy erupted, not to attend any public function in Bangalore till the statue was unveiled. Today, my thambi (younger brother) Yeddyurappa, has made me break my vow with his gesture. On August 13, I will wait in Chennai to welcome him,’’ Karunanidhi said.