Congress leader and econ­o­mist he evaded any talk of an al­liance, say­ing he was more con­cerned “about reliance...not the com­pany, but on peo­ple’s sup­port!”

Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter N. Chandrababu Naidu, who opened day two along with Ker­ala Chief Min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan and the Tamil Nadu Op­po­si­tion leader Stalin, came out strongly in sup­port of de­mon­eti­sa­tion, say­ing he was also in favour of 100 per cent dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions in fund­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Stalin took an op­pos­ing view, slam­ming de­mon­eti­sa­tion as “a slow dis­as­ter”. There were po­lit­i­cal fire­works when DMK MP Kan­i­mozhi and the PMK’s An­bu­mani Ra­ma­doss traded barbs, ac­cus­ing each other’s par­ties of spend­ing thou­sands of crores on elec­tions. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee pres­i­dent S. Thirunavukkarasar took it a step fur­ther, re­veal­ing can­didly that Rs 30 crore could buy you an elec­tion, leav­ing some of the au­di­ence in splits, and oth­ers in stunned si­lence.

It wasn’t all pol­i­tics. On ‘The South­ern Suc­cess Story: The Tal­ent Hunt’, speak­ers ex­plained how this part of the coun­try came to ac­count for over 63 per cent of In­dia’s IT ex­ports, 40 per cent of the biotech in­dus­try, making it fig­ure among the world’s top 30 economies. “Tamil Nadu’s strength is its hu­man re­sources,” said K. Pandiarajan, min­is­ter for school ed­u­ca­tion, sports and youth wel­fare, re­spond­ing to the claim that Gu­jarat was a more en­ter­pris­ing state. Vikram Kir­loskar, vicechair­man, Toy­ota Kir­loskar Mo­tors, ar­gued that “in­tel­lec­tual in­fras­truc­ture” was be­hind the growth, point­ing to the pres­ence of top ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions while also ex­press­ing con­cern that engi­neer­ing col­leges to­day were not teach­ing enough of the ba­sic sciences.

Then there was glam­our. Two of the south’s lead­ing ladies, Ta­man­naah Bha­tia and Shriya Saran, spoke of how they had made the suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion from Mumbai to south­ern cinema and what they had learned down south. The ac­tor Amyra Das­tur, who is in the forth­com­ing Kung Fu Yoga with Jackie Chan, gave a sur­pris­ingly frank re­sponse on what her take­aways were from the south: “The first thing I learnt in the south was that there

The elites of South In­dia have se­ceded from the rest of In­dia. They have be­come global cit­i­zens. The elites of North In­dia are still rooted in the land.”

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