Karuna, Jaya row over Tamil New Year

Chennai: DMK president M Karunanidhi today said he would celebrate the birth of Tamil month "Thai" (January) as the new year saying it was the people who should decide when it should be celebrated. "Only the Tamil people have the right to decide when the festival should be celebrated. Last year, we had celebrated it in Thai (January) and we will celebrate it this year also," he told reporters here upon his return from Tiruvarur after visiting Thane cyclone affected areas.

Last year it had been celebrated on the first day of Tamil month Thai, which has since been revised by the ruling AIADMK. In 2008, Karunanidhi had announced that the Tamil New Year would be celebrated on the first day of the auspicious month of `Thai`, coinciding with the harvest festival of Pongal.

However, the Jayalalithaa government had reversed the New Year to Tamil month of "Chithirai"(April) after it assumed power defeating DMK in the April 13 Assembly polls.

To a question on the alleged delay in relief works in cyclone affected areas of Cuddalore and other areas, he said he was of the opinion that opposition parties should cooperate with the government at such times "and I have done that," he said in an apparent reference to his visiting the affected areas.

He had earlier said that he will assess the various relief measures required to be taken by the Central and state governments and take it up with them.