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First World Classical Tamil meet, a pet project of Karunanidhi

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Coimbatore: The city, which is hosting the World’s first Classical Tamil Meet, wears a festive look with traffic islands and parks spruced up with artwork depicting culture, tradition and bravery of Tamils adorning the walls. The city also got a facelift.

The CODISSIA trade fair complex on Avinashi Road, the main venue of the meet, is bustling with activity. The mega pandal on 4.40 lakh sq.ft. area can accommodate 50,000 people during  the five-day event. About 4,000 observers and research paper presenters are taking part in the meet while 85 delegates from different countries are attending  as special  invitees.

Tamil scholars from across the state, including former vice-chancellors and deans, are also attending the meet. Significantly, Sri Lankan Tamil scholar Karthikesu Sivathamby, whose visit was uncertain, made it to the meet in advance.

This conference has been the pet project of Tamil   Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. There are 20 conference halls for discussions and debates. 

10,000 policemen are handling the event. Special trains have been organized. A.R. Rahman has composed the theme song of the conference. Schools and colleges across the state have closed to ensure that the conference draws large crowds. 

The opposition AIADMK, and its leader J. Jayalalithaa are boycotting the event. “Are they going to contribute to the growth of Tamil?  Are they going to speak sense? The Chief Minister wants a big crowd, that’s all,” says Ramaswamy, a political commentator.

The timing  of  the conference is significant. Assemby elections in Tamil Nadu are scheduled  to be held    in 2011.