Tongue twisters of TN politics

Chennai: To err is human, especially during public speeches. But, in Tamilnadu, where the gift of the gab is considered an important ingredient to climb the political ladder, each and every word uttered by politicians is under the scanner. And, when they mispronounce something, they get instantly trolled on social media with multitudes of memes.

The recent toast of meme-makers is DMK president M K Stalin. At a function, he attempted to say “When I was Deputy Chief Minister, I went to Japan (for Metro Rail project).” But he ended up saying “When I was Deputy Chief Minister of Japan”. This small slip of the tongue was enough for netizens to create hashtags, memes and posts, all mocking Stalin.

Interestingly, this is not first time Stalin is getting trolled for saying something wrong. His earlier gems include ‘Yaanai varum munne, mani osai varum pinne’ (which is the exact opposite of the popular Tamil proverb he intended to convey), ‘poonai mel madhil’ (he wanted to say ‘madhil mel poonai’ which means ‘cat on the wall’ and a ‘vacuum is filed as it is cried’ (instead of ‘a vacuum is filled when it is created’).

Minister Dindigul Srinivasan is also the darling of trollers on social media. He once said ‘Prime Minister MGR’. His gaffes include ‘the Budget tabled by Vajpayee had been welcomed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’, ‘Deputy Speaker Thambidurai would go to New Delhi and speak with Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’.

When BJP president Amit Shah was in Chennai last year, the party’s national secretary H Raja’s Tamil translation of drip irrigation as urine irrigation (siruneer pasanam) had evoked huge trolls and fun posts on social media.

While Chief Minister Palaniswami once said ‘Kamba Ramayanam was penned by Sekkizhar’ and attracted memes, senior members of his Cabinet, including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan, were not able to get the name of popular Carnatic singer Sudha Ragunathan right at a programme. They called her Bharatanatyam dancer, Sudha Rangunathan and Sudha Raguraman.

“While M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa gave huge importance to their public speeches and did enough homework before attending any event, politicos these days are not bothered about this. They should prepare well to avoid becoming meme-materials,” says E Ramachandran, a political observer.

M Bhaskar Sai