A day after it cheered the elevation of party leader M Thambidurai as Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the AIADMK was left red-faced on Thursday when one of its members, singing praises of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, delivered a speech he had prepared for a discussion on communal violence while participating in a debate on a Bill to amend the Apprentices Act
Speaking in Tamil, Thanjavur MP K Parasuraman heaped praise on Puratchi Thalaivi Amma — each of the party’s 37 MPs do that whenever they rise to speak in the House, a photograph of the “revolutionary leader” peeping from their shirt pockets — and described in great detail how Tamil Nadu was a “land of peace” where Amma had taken a string of measures to maintain order, never discriminating between caste, creed or religion and evenly distributing laptops and bicycles.
Since he was speaking in Tamil, not many in the House caught on — barely 100 members were present when Parasuraman spoke. But they all seemed perplexed because he kept referring to Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, and not mentioning the Apprentices Act even once. Those who were listening to the translation soon realised it was the wrong speech and pointed it out to the Deputy Speaker who was in the chair.
“Speak on the Apprentices Act,” Thambidurai reminded the MP. But Parasuraman continued, paying no heed to the murmurs and giggles all around. He wrapped up his speech, thanked everyone and sat down. Two AIADMK MPs then broke the news to him — the right speech in the wrong discussion. Stunned, he listened to them, looked at his papers and began wiping beads of perspiration.
AIADMK MPs never fail to credit their leader for their presence in the House. Even Thambidurai, in his thank you speech after being unanimously elected Deputy Speaker on Wednesday, referred to her seven times.
”I thank my leader Puratchi Thalaivi honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Dr Amma with immense gratitude for having given me this opportunity… I thank honourable Amma for reposing confidence in me… I assure both my leaders, honourable Puratchi Thalaivi Amma and the honourable Prime Minister, that I will prove worthy of their choice. The slogan of my leader, honourable Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, is… I am by the people and the people are with me. That is how honourable Amma created history and sent 37 MPs to this august House from Tamil Nadu out of the 39 seats contested,” he said.
“My leader, honourable Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, is making all the efforts to see that 33 per cent reservation for women becomes a reality. That Bill has to be passed… I thank honourable Prime Minister of India, leaders of all political parties, and honourable members of this House, on behalf of my leader, honourable Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, on behalf of my party, AIADMK, and on my own behalf, for electing me to this high office,” Thambidurai said.
The adulation for the AIADMK leader touched new heights last week when P Nagarajan, MP from Coimbatore, recited a Tamil song and said, “Before starting my speech, I would like to bow my head in reverence towards the direction in which our leader Puratchi Thalaivi Amma is… My namaskaram to my leader Puratchi Thalaivi Tamil Tai Amma and our honourable Speaker, popularly known as Hindi Tai. I am nothing without my mother. I have my mother and she will protect me.”
Three days ago, Nagarajan was at it again: “Madam, with the blessings of our honourable leader, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, I would like to put my first supplementary… Amma is everything, there is no life without Amma, the Mother.”
Each time her name is mentioned, all AIADMK MPs thump the desk in appreciation. But Thursday was an aberration. Beams gave way to bewilderment, embarrassment to looks of horror as Parasuraman delivered his tribute to Puratchi Thalaivi’s “land of peace” at the wrong time.