Tiger buddy with nuisance value takes on Karuna

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  • Published 12.01.11

Chennai, Jan. 11: Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu may be five months away but at least one person has announced his candidature against the electoral might of Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi.

Tamil film director-turned-actor Sebastian Seeman, a fiery supporter of the LTTE and the Tamil Eelam cause, has declared that he was ready to be the common candidate to challenge Karunanidhi at whichever constituency he contests, and sought the support of all Opposition parties.

“My aim is to defeat Karunanidhi in a one-on-one fight for his betrayal of Sri Lankan Tamils and for this, I am ready to join hands with anyone, including the AIADMK,” he told reporters after a meeting with MDMK leader Vaiko.

His sole agenda for the 2011 elections would be to defeat the DMK-Congress combine, he added.

Seeman, 36, has been arrested twice under the National Security Act (NSA) by the DMK government for his fiery oratory in support of the LTTE and against Sinhalese living in Tamil Nadu. He had declared his intention to take on Karunanidhi after he was released from jail last month when the high court quashed his detention under the NSA.

A supporter of slain LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran, Seeman had directed a Tamil movie titled Thambi, Prabhakaran’s pet name. In November 2009, he was deported from Canada for addressing pro-LTTE meetings and threatening the Sinhalese.

During the last stage of the LTTE’s war against the Sri Lankan forces in 2009, Seeman had floated the Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam (Our Tamil Movement) to rally the pro-Tiger forces against the Congress and the DMK for not preventing the decimation of the rebel group. In the May 2009 Lok Sabha election, his outfit had supported pro-LTTE candidates against Congress nominees, including home minister P. Chidambaram. “Our campaign against the Congress was responsible for senior Congress leaders K.V. Thangkabaalu and E.V.K.S. Elangovan losing in those elections while Chidambaram himself could just squeak through,” Seeman had claimed after the results.

He had paraded a group of Mumbai Tamils in front of Amitabh Bachchan’s house in Juhu to urge him not to participate in the IIFA awards held in Colombo last year.

The Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam has been touting itself as the self-proclaimed guardian of Tamil culture and had attacked the Chennai residence of Malayalam actor Jayaram after he made fun of Tamil domestic helps in a TV show.

“Seeman has the following of a small group of committed Tamil youths who are ready to hit the streets and vent their fury against any target he chooses. He is the Tamil version of Raj Thackeray, who may never become a mainstream force but can be of immense nuisance value,” a senior intelligence officer said.

The DMK remains unfazed about the Seeman challenge. “Our leader has won 11 Assembly elections since 1957 and triumphed even during the anti-DMK wave of 1991 following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, being the sole winner from our party. So even if Seeman is endorsed as the common candidate, it would only spur our cadres to ensure the re-election of our leader,” a senior minister said.

Normally, the AIADMK gives away the seat in which Karunanidhi is contesting to one of its allies, so it can concentrate on a more winnable seat. So if Seeman really gets to take on the DMK veteran, he could be the first known person to challenge Karunanidhi in a long time.

The chief minister has to look for a new seat as his current Chepauk constituency has been merged with the neighbouring Triplicane seat after delimitation. There is also the distinct possibility of his not contesting the election because of his age and he may prefer to enter the legislative council which is being revived now.

The only time Karunanidhi had not contested an Assembly election was in 1984 when he was a member of the council, after having resigned his Assembly seat in 1983 to protest against the Centre’s inaction to stop the ethnic violence against Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Ironically, his future opponent is using the same line to take on Karunanidhi now.