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.”