Post Karunanidhi, Tiruchy still a favourite with DMK bigwigs

The Rock Fort city of Tiruchy has witnessed a turning point in every politician’s career in the state. More so, in the successful journey of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the past decades. Party patriarch M Karunanidhi was steadfast in his Tiruchy sentiment and his son MK Stalin is now meticulously continuing in his father’s footsteps.
Post Karunanidhi, Tiruchy still a favourite with DMK bigwigs
A view of the large crowd that turned up for the DMK-led agitation on Mekedatu dam issue in Tiruchy recently


Tiruchy, the central district of the state, had played a vibrant role in the political career of Karunanidhi. The veteran had been holding several state-level conferences and meetings to roaring success in the city.

He never missed Tiruchy campaign in any elections until he was active. Political analysts claimed that he continued to maintain the sentiment as, the first turning-point meeting for the party was in 1956, when the DMK-led by CN Annadurai conducted a meeting to decide whether the party should contest in elections.

The leaders then decided in the meeting that participation in the elections only could bring proper solution to sow the seed of Dravidian ideology which the people had started to long for.  

“His affinity to Tiruchy dated back to 1950s when he was the ardent follower of Dravidar Kazhagam led by EVR Periyar, who spent long years in Tiruchy to propagate his ideologies. Karunanidhi had stayed with him here for many days and had acquired the firsthand knowledge from the social reformer Periyar,” S Saravanan, a local political commentator said.

The famous Kallakudi protest on July 15, 1953, which was in the combined Tiruchy district then, topped the list of all the above meetings, conferences and protests spearheaded by Karunanidhi. And this prompted him to contest in Kulithalai Assembly constituency in 1957 at the age of 33.

Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu Assembly by winning the election while senior members, including VR Nedunchezhiyan who contested in Salem, had lost.

Karunanidhi the fiery orator’s salutation ‘En Uyirinum melaana Udanpirappugale’ will give a scintillating energy among the cadre who would take much time to control themselves and Tiruchy had witnessed several such occasions.

Now, the new DMK president MK Stalin, who travelled along with Karunanidhi for several decades, continue to maintain the same tempo by keeping the cadre enthusiasm alive with the charisma he acquired from his father, guide, caretaker and the party president Karunanidhi.

Stalin made it a point to visit Tiruchy on September 3, soon after his elevation to the president post on August 28. He was given a rousing reception in Tiruchy where he interacted with the farmers from Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam.

Stalin seems to hold the Tiruchy sentiment as sacrosanct and his visits on various occasions to the city after his elevation stand proof to it. He has now started to salute the cadre as ‘Thalaivar Kalaignar Avargalin Uyirinum Melaana Anbu Udanpirappugale,” to boost the workers spirits.

Stalin said that Karunanidhi was very particular with farmers’ issues and referred to the Nangavaram protest in 1957 for the farmers who were suffering due to crop loss.

“Thalaivar (MK) organsied the protest in Nangavaram in Tiruchy for around 20 days with over 10,000 farmers and the present (agitation) is similar to one such protests,” said Stalin in a recent demonstration held on Mekedatu dam issue by the party.

Nangavaram was the first all party protest in the state and like Karunanidhi, Stalin preferred Tiruchy for sentiment’s sake and it yielded him the desired result by turning into a show of strength for the party.
Tiruchy’s most trusted lieutenants 
DMK has a band of strong personalities in Tiruchy to hold the party fortress tight on the region. They have backed the leadership for long and grown strong down the years.
Karunanidhi found one such leader in Anbil Dharmalingam, his trusted lieutenant. When he was in active politics, Karunanidhi never missed to utter Dharmalingam’s name whenever he spoke in public meetings in Tiruchy. He used to recall frequently how Anbil Dharmalingam had carried him on his shoulder and crossed the Cauvery during a political meeting. Now, Stalin has Anbil Poyyamozhi, KN Nehru, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Tiruchy N Siva to bolster the party in the region. Stalin too takes the name of Poyyamozhi in all meetings in the region. Above all, the DMK leadership has a strong workforce in KN Nehru. The strongman carries the party’s programme organising burden efficiently. Their dedication shows up in the arrangements of meeting formats for the party down the years. “It is healthy to watch the party leadership treat the Tiruchy leaders as their family and always make it a point to attend any function in the family of these leaders,” R Rajasekar, a political commentator from Tiruchy observed.
Loyal to MK when party was split
When the DMK was split with Vaiko launching his party MDMK, Tiruchy cadre stood with Karunanidhi and the DMK. Though, a strong group from Karur went behind Vaiko, the MDMK could not get a decent share of cadre from Tiruchy. Similarly, when Stalin’s sibling MK Alagiri attempted to split the party, he could not draw cadre from Tiruchy. “DMK workers in Tiruchy have strong commitment towards the party and so they use to be cordial always,” Rajasekar, a political commentator said. Despite other political parties preferring Tiruchy for meetings for its proximity to other districts of the state, DMK has strong roots intertwined with sentiments behind it, he added. 

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