Salem(TN): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday launched a blistering attack on P Chidambaram, saying the veteran Congress leader was "only a burden on earth."
The chief minister was responding to criticism of his party by Chidambaram, who had reportedly said if the Centre decided to make Tamil Nadu a union territory like it has done in Jammu and Kashmir, the ruling AIADMK would not resist such a move.
Palaniswami's remarks drew sharp rebuke from Karti, Chidambaram's son and Sivaganga Lok Sabha MP, who asked if there was any political decency in his comments against his father.
In his tirade against the former Union Minister, Palaniswami said Chidambaram was only concerned about his interests and not that of the country.
He said despite being a Central Minister for long, Chidambaram had not addressed issues concerning the state including the Cauvery river water dispute.
"What schemes has P Chidambaram brought (apparently to Tamil Nadu), please tell me. How long was he the Union Minister? (but) what is the use to the country..(Chidambaram) is only a burden on the earth," the chief minister said.
Palaniswami even asked if Chidambaram "gave adequate funds" while handling the Finance portfolio.
"Did he usher in new industries or any projects. Did he solve the Cauvery dispute or the Mullaperiyar issue, or that of the Palar?" Palaniswami asked, referring to the inter-state disputes involving Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.
"For him, only his selfish (interests) are important, not that of the country's," he said, adding the Congress veteran need not be taken seriously.
"People have already rejected him," he claimed.
Palaniswami wondered if Chidambaram had toured the state and pointed out that in his capacity as a Chief Minister he has visited Salem many times and interacted with members of public.
The ruling party was delivering various public welfare activities, he added.
Reacting sharply to Palaniswami's attack, Karti sought to know if it was proper for a chief minister to use such words.
In an apparent reference to Palaniswami being made chief minister in 2017, following internal rumblings in the wake of then chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death, Karti said the former had come to the post by virtue of a "historic accident."
Palaniswami was made chief minister after his predecessor O Panneerselvam revolted against VK Sasikala, close aide of Jayalalithaa, who was elected AIADMK legislature party leader in February 2017, two months after Jayalalithaa's death. This had paved the way for her elevation to the top post.
However, the Supreme Court later convicted and sentenced Sasikala to a four year jail term in a graft case, following which Palaniswami was made the chief minister.
Speaking to reporters in Dindigul, Karti said the chief minister's "conscience will prick when he offers prayers tomorrow."
His father had presented the union budget nine times and was counted as the "best Finance Minister in Asia," Karti said.
"He (Palaniswami) became Chief Minister by a historic accident. Can he make such remarks (against Chidambaram)... Is there any political decency in it?" he asked.
"I know he prays to God. Tomorrow when he prays to God, let him reveal if his conscience pricks," Karti said.
On Sunday, Chidambaram had taken potshots at seven regional parties ruling in seven states, saying they did not cooperate against the BJP's move to scrap Article 370 in the Rajya Sabha out of "fear".
Expressing dissatisfaction over non-cooperation of opposition parties, the Congress leader had said, "I know we do not have majority in Lok Sabha, but had the seven parties (AIADMK, YSRCP, TRS, BJD, AAP, TMC, JDU) cooperated, the opposition would have been in majority in RS. This is something disappointing."
Trinamool Congress had staged a walkout, but what was the difference, he had asked.
On Tuesday, asked about AIADMK's stand on scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Palaniswami recalled that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and indicated his party's stand was in lines with her remarks then.
Jayalalithaa had then reportedly made indications of supporting scrapping of the special status to that state.