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Jayalalithaa gets what Tansen didn’t

July 26: Jayalalithaa has bested Tansen, after a fashion.

The legendary musician who has created countless ragas and whose melodies are supposed to “have made rain” does not have a single raga named after him. Tamil Nadu’s Amma has.

Her state’s penchant to name roads and parks and what have you after its presiding deities struck a new chord yesterday when Carnatic music great M. Balamurali Krishna christened a new raga Jaya Jaya Lalithe in her honour.

The tribute came at a function in Chennai to mark the musician’s 75th birthday. An overwhelmed Jayalalithaa gushed that in her next birth she “would like to be born as Dr Balamurali Krishna’s disciple, learn Carnatic music under his tutelage and become such a great singer that her guru would be forced to say shabaash”.

And in thanksgiving, she conferred the title Gandharva Gana Samrat on him.

The chief minister, however, swayed to a different raga this morning, flying to Delhi to request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure Tamil Nadu got more Cauvery water.

Conspicuously missing was the rancour she had displayed towards Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the run-up to last year’s Lok Sabha elections. “It seems I have mellowed with age,” Jayalalithaa quipped when asked the secret behind her “softening” towards Sonia.

Asked if she had a date with Sonia after the meeting with Singh, she said: “I am going straight to the airport from here.”

But she said she had an open mind on tie-ups for the state elections next year. Her party, the ADMK, dumped the BJP last year and has been going alone since.

Jayalalithaa claimed her party was not “isolated” as it had a “firm alliance with the people of Tamil Nadu”.

“That is the alliance which is very strong. Nobody can break it,” she said.

She said she preferred not to discuss alliances as she was “not unduly concerned” about them. She ruled out any plans to advance the elections.

Jayalalithaa said the Prime Minister had assured her that a team of central government officials would visit Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and ensure water requirements of farmers in both states are met.

The Prime Minister’s Office quoted Singh as telling Jayalalithaa that “it is our duty to see that justice is done to all farmers”.

“Farmers’ interests are dearest to me. The government will do all that is possible to relieve the distress of the farmers and ensure their needs are met,” Singh is believed to have told her.

A DMK-led delegation, including Union ministers P. Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Dayanidhi Maran, had called on Singh yesterday. Later, the Prime Minister spoke to Karnataka chief minister Dharam Singh.

Jayalalithaa said the ministers from Tamil Nadu ' all from the rival DMK-led camp ' were “not doing anything for the state”.

On the ADMK joining hands with other parties, she said: “It is an era of coalition politics at the Centre, at the national level, and not at the state level.”

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