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A script which Karuna would never imagined in TN

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

 It is a script that M Karunanidhi would not have imagined days ago when political pundits wrote him off and predicted a big win for his arch rival and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in the Lok Sabha polls.      

For the 85-year-old former script writer and orator, the performance of his party DMK and its ally Congress belies all projections.      

The never-say-die Dravidian partriarch quietly watched all major political formations making overtures to Jayalalithaa but he had the last laugh. He had led DMK to victory from his hospital bed this time.      

A powerful script writer and orator in Tamil, Muthuvel Karunanidhi began his public life working under social reformer E V Ramasamy Periyar and cast his lot with the DMK founder C N Annadurai, when he founded the party in 1948.       

From then on he has never looked back, though his six-decade long political careeer was full of ups and downs.      

Known for his shrewd administrative skills and political manouvering, Karunanidhi became Chief Minister for the first time on Feb 10, 1969, after the death of Annadurai.       

He sided with the late MGR, who had considerable clout with DMK MLAs and it was this factor which tilted the balance in his favour against senior DMK leader V R Nedunchezhian, who could have become the Chief Minister after Annadurai.      

Born in the backward Isai Vellala community in the obscure village of Thirukuvalai in Thanjavur district, to Muthuvel and Anjugam on June 3, 1924, Karunanidhi has his place under the sun to become one of the towering personalitities in Indian politics.

Karunanidhi has the rare ability of converting challenges into opportunities.  When Indira Gandhi was isolated by top Congress leaders during 1969 during the great split of the congress, he asked all his 25 DMK MP's to stand by her.       

In 1971, he dissolved the State Assembly when Gandhi dissolved the Lok Sabha for simultaneous elections.  His strategy paid rich dividends and the DMK won an unprecedented 182 seats, a record in the state.       

However, when Gandhi declared Emergency, Karunanidhi firmly opposed it and even gave asylum to leaders like George Fernandes who were wanted by the Centre in the Baroda dynamite case.      

When he saw a threat to his position in the party, he suspended MGR, the party Treasurer, which boomeranged on him.      

When the National Front was floated in 1989, he called all top political leaders to Chennai and held the foundation conference of the Front on the sprawling Marina beach.         

The DMK started taking keen interest in the National political scene when late Murasoli Maran became a minister in the V P Singh government.         

In 1989, in the first post-MGR era election, Karunanidhi triumphed and became Chief Minister for the third time when he was against a divided AIADMK.         

However, it lasted only for one-and-a-half years as his government was dismissed by the Chandrashekhar Government on Congress campaign that it helped the LTTE in the state. In the polls soon after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, DMK was routed, but Karunanidhi emerged victorious and was elected to the state assembly from Chennai.  However, he resigned.  His party's performance was the worst in its existence.        

But riding on the crest of an anti-incumbency wave, he became Chief Minister for the fourth time in 1996.  And in the next elections the DMK was defeated and Jayalalithaa came to power in 2001.       

Besides being a politican, Karunanidhi has made a name for himeself as a literary figure.  He has authored over 200 books, including a translation of the 'The Mother', written by Maxim Gorky.       

A gifted stage artiste and a powerful script-writer, he made his presence felt in the Tamil film industry with a bang, when his first movie 'Parasakthi' starring the legendary Shivaji Ganesan was a runaway success.      

Through this script of his, filmdom in Tamil nadu found a new vibrant hero, who was none other then Sivaji Ganesan.         

Karunanidhi had also propagated the Tamil epic 'Silappadigaram' and the Tamil treatise Thirukkural through his movies.         

His aversion to nantional language Hindi is no secret and he was instrumental in convening an anti-Hindi conference in 1957 to protest the imposition of the language in the state.       

In his political career, Karunanidhi has earned the reputation of always assessing the political situation in the state accurately.

First Published: Sat, May 16 2009. 14:56 IST