Former Tamil Nadu CM M. Karunanidhi passes away

Former Tamil Nadu CM M. Karunanidhi passes away

Five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi passed away at 6:10 pm on Tuesday evening. He was 94 years old.

Karunanidhi is survived by his wives Dayalu Ammal and Rajathi Ammal, sons M.K. Muthu, M.K. Azhagiri, M.K. Stalin and M.K. Tamzhalarasu and daughters Selvi and Kanimozhi.

DMK president died in Chennai after prolonged illness, the city hospital where the leader was admitted, said.

“With deep anguish we announce the demise of our beloved Kalaignar M Karunanidhi on 07.08.2018 at 6.10 pm.

Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to resuscitate him, he failed to respond.

“We profoundly mourn the loss of one of the tallest leaders of India and we share the grief of family members and fellow Tamilians worldwide,” a press release by Dr Aravindan Selvaraj, Executive Director of Kauvery Hospital, said.

The veteran of Dravidian politics was shifted to the hospital on July 28 from his Gopalapuram residence following a dip in his blood pressure and he was under treatment in the Intensive Care Unit ever since.

M.K. Stalin is likely to succeed him as the DMK’s supremo.

In a public career spanning almost seven decades, Karunanidhi donned several hats.

As a student, he was involved in the Dravidian movement, inspired by ‘Periyar’ E.V. Ramaswamy’s ideology. Karunanidhi was among a group of youngsters active in street plays, gave speeches and publishing hand-written magazines. His charm and oratory abilities were noticed by C.M. Annadurai, who was Periyar’s right-hand man. He was tasked with making public speeches and later was made editor of the Dravidar Kazhagam’s party magazine.

After independence, Periyar’s movement split into two. Karunanidhi followed Annadurai, establishing the Davidar Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949. He was the party’s first treasurer and was elected to the assembly in 1957.

As his political career was taking off, Karunanidhi also became a popular screenwriter for Tamil films. These scripts provided a base for the DMK to spread its political message: self-respect movement that demanded the end of exploitation of Tamils by north Indians and Brahmins. His movies also involved social messages such as widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability and highlighting religious hypocrisy.

He was a prolific literary figure, apparently penning over 2 lakh pages of poems, novels, biographies, plays, songs and dialogues in his lifetime.

A profile of Karunanidhi by Caravan describes that after the DMK failed to oust the Congress in 1957 and 1962, the party was able to seize a majority in the state in 1967 thanks to his stellar efforts. Annadurai, who became the chief minister, acknowledged Karunanidhi’s role in raising money as well as holding the ranks together. The DMK founder passed away in 1969. Karunanidhi with M.G. Ramachandran’s – the biggest movie star of Tamil cinema – help was able to emerge as the chief minister.

The party scored a resounding victory in the 1971 snap elections, but MGR broke ranks, allegedly miffed that he was denied a cabinet position. He formed the AIADMK, which would prove to be Karunanidhi’s biggest rival. The two parties have been sharing power in the state ever since. While MGR proved to be his biggest rival, the movie star’s successor, J. Jayalalithaa was also a formidable foe.

His five reigns as chief minister spanned from 1969-1971, 1971-1976, 1989-1991, 1996-2001 and 2006-2011. His governments are credited with bringing in moves such as reservation for women, mot backward classes, scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, apart from establishing several universities, providing health care and education.

In recent times, Karunanidhi and DMK achieved infamy for their alleged role in the 2G scam. His daughter Kanimozhi and DMK’s A. Raja (then Union telecom minister) were accused in the case. Later, enforcement directorate officials had also claimed that Kalaignar TV, a channel owned by Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal, had received Rs 200 crore from companies involved in the 2G scam.

Karunanidhi’s family has also been mired in controversies regarding nepotism. While the DMK is dominated by his family, several of his relations are also influential film producers and artists. The family denied accusations of nepotism, stating that even family members rose through the ranks only after proving themselves. – Agencies