#JustIn: Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Passes Away At 94
August 7th, 2018 / 6:49 PM
Image Credit: India Today
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch M. Karunanidhi dies at the age of 94. Kauvery Hospital released a statement expressing anguish over his death at 6:10 PM.
He became the first in the country’s political history on July 27 to became the first leader to enter the 50th year as president of a party. His supporters and fans in Tamil Nadu were anxiously waiting to hear good news about his health after he was admitted to hospital on July 28.
He was admitted to the hospital for a dip in his blood pressure, which seems to have stabilised now. The 94-year-old was being treated for fever and urinary tract infection reported The Hindu. “His blood pressure has been stabilised with medical management and he continues to be monitored and treated by the panel of experts,” said the hospital in a televised report after his supporters were getting anxious and gathering in front of the hospital on July 30.
Several senior DMK leaders, including working president M.K. Stalin and his estranged elder brother M.K. Azhagiri, were at the hospital. Other leaders such as Duraimurugan, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and former union minister A. Raja were also present in the hospital while he was being treated.
A brief history
On July 27, 1969, M. Karunanidhi was elected as the president of DMK. Five months earlier, after the death of party founder C.N. Annadurai, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He went on to become the CM of Tamil Nadu five times.
Karunanidhi has a lot of feathers in his cap. He is considered a man who has the knowledge of the pulse of the lasses and is considered as one of the greatest intellectuals of his time. A brilliant orator who knew how to win public trust, he was also a novel writer, lyric writer, script and dialogue writer. He is known to have a great memory too. It is said that he can remember the name of any ordinary party worker at any far corner of the state, reported The Hindu.
He started his political journey when he was just 14 years old in the DMK. He is the only person to have served the party for 50 years. Karunanidhi is considered as the leader who has always been concerned about his party and its people.
“He is, without a doubt, the most senior statesman in the state’s political arena. Yet, he has always treated young people like me in the party with affection and concern. That’s what makes him acceptable across generations of Tamils. There is a feeling of kinship within the party that is hard to explain. It is an amazing achievement for any organisation, especially one that is as large as the DMK. It is one of the reasons why DMK continues to survive as a cadre-based unit,” said DMK spokesperson Manuraj Sundaram, reports DailyO.
His focus on infrastructure led him to share a cordial relationship with businessmen and entrepreneurs. “If MGR was the welfare agenda man, bordering on populism, much of Karunanidhi’s politics focused on creating infrastructure,” said political analyst TS Sudhir.
His political career
After he took charge as DMK president on July 27, 1969, he led the DMK to a massive victory in the 1971 Assembly elections. Although during Emergency, he refused to give up party president’s post, in 1980, he tied up with the Congress to get the M.G. Ramachandran government sacked.
The same year he parted with 50% of the seats to the Congress in the Assembly elections but the alliance was not fruitful and MGR won. He then steered his party to power in 1989 after MGR’s death. In 1996, the Tamil Maanila Congress — a Congress splinter group headed by G.K. Moopanar became his ally. The TMC came to power in the state.
In 1999, he joined hands with the BJP and became a part of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2004, he tied up with the Congress and secured a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The alliance continued in 2009. In 2014, his party contests the election alone and loses. J.Jayalalithaa’s party, AIADMK came to power. Jayalalithas holds the record of becoming the CM of Tamil Nadu six times. In 2016, DMK became the largest Opposition party in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
His last active presence in politics was in 2016 when he had a tracheotomy. This has cost his party dearly. His son M.K Stalin is the party chief currently. After Jayalalitha’s death and Karunanidhi’s demise, there will be a vacuum left in Tamil Nadu politics.
Written by : Poorbita Bagchi
Edited by : Abhinav Joshi