The TMC split in 2001 soon after Moopanar died. Chidambaram launched his own political outfit, but merged it with the Congress later.
However, Karti Chidambaram saw the middle class rising up against the two Dravidian behemoths and how powerful a small change in political formations could be.
"My principle ambition politically is to make the Congress a potent political force in Tamil Nadu. But to compete with the two Dravidian behemoths we must strategise and act very differently," he says.
To this end, he tried hard to become president of the Youth Congress in Tamil Nadu. But by the time the party put in place the system of elections to front organisations, he was too old to contest.
"Not getting appointed as Youth Congress President of Tamil Nadu was very disappointing," he says.
Karti then did the next best thing: he became his father's election manager in Sivaganga. This made him the focus of all eyes. Rumours swirled.
Karti did not flinch from answering questions, either about the facts or the rumours about him (see interview that follows).
But what makes him angry is how people pass snap verdicts about him.
"People are very judgmental. They have an opinion because of my last name. The negativity about those in public life disappoints me. I lead a very privileged life. I am duty bound to give back. Why doesn't anyone understand this motivation?" he asks.
So, about that last name: his relationship with his father. His answer is brief.
"My father is a perfectionist and measures others by his standards of excellence. That's tough to match up."
Image Courtesy: Karthi Chidambaram