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Chennai

Gutka scam: Chennai ex-police commissioner S. George pleads innocence

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Former Chennai Police Commissioner S. George on Friday said he has not received any money from any gutka manufacturer.
 
The former city police chief told reporters here that at the time when the scam surfaced, it was blown up to prevent him and T. K. Rajendran from becoming the Director General of Police (DGP).
 
However, Rajendran was appointed as the Tamil Nadu DGP.
 
George said he has not received any money from any gutka (a tobacco product banned in Tamil Nadu) manufacturer.
 
Queried about an entry in the diary of the gutka manufacturer A. V.  Madhava Rao listing out the payment of "Rs 15 lakh for Christmas to a former Commissioner of Police", George said someone might have collected the money from the gutka manufacturer falsely saying that it is for him (George).
 
"Entries might have been made in the diary based on someone's statement. Why should an ex-commissioner be paid any money," he asked.
 
He also said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is carrying out a probe based on entries made by a gutka manufacturer.
 
On September 5, the CBI raided the houses of George, DGP Rajendran, Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister C. Vijayabaskar, gutka manufacturer Rao and several state and central government officials in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
 
George said his name is not mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the CBI.
 
According to him, there are several layers of hierarchy between the Commissioner of Police and down below. There are about 300 police stations in Chennai. 
 
"Is it possible for a scam to go on just with the blessing of the Commissioner of Police," he asked. There are different levels in the police hierarchy and different periods, he added.
 
He said Deputy Commissioner Jayakumar did not report the illegal gutka operations to his superiors despite knowing and it happening under his jurisdiction.
 
According to George, he held a preliminary inquiry about the gutka scam and had written a letter to the state government to conduct a probe citing the rumours of police officials being involved in the scam.
 
George said as the allegations were against the Commissioner of Police, it was not possible for him to order a probe but there were several agencies that could have been entrusted with the task.
 
He said he did not know why the government did not act on that report.
 
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As to the seizures by CBI after raiding his home, the former commissioner said, the CBI took only the sale deed of his plot bought from the state housing board, certain lease documents and insurance policies.
 
On Thursday, the CBI arrested five persons, including three promoters of gutka manufacturing company Jayam Industries -- Rao, Uma Shankar Gupta and Srinivas Rao; Food Safety Department official Senthil Murugan and Central Excise Superintendent N. K.Pandyan.
 
The case is related to an Income Tax Department raid in the offices, residences and godowns of a gutka manufacturer Madhava Rao in Tamil Nadu in 2016 for evading about Rs 250 crore tax.
 
A diary was seized from Rao's residence which listed alleged bribes paid to various officials to the tune of about Rs 39.31 crore.
 
The IT Department had sent a report to the Tamil Nadu government about the alleged payoffs to various officials.
 
The state government claimed it did not receive any report from the IT Department. But a copy of the letter sent to the state government by the IT Department was seized from the room occupied by V. K. Sasikala in the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's residence in November 2017.
 
The Tamil Nadu government has banned the manufacture and storage of gutka. However, the product was reportedly available in the market with the alleged connivance of police officers and others.
 
Despite objections from the opposition parties, Rajendran was given a two-year extension in 2018 by the AIADMK government.
 
George avoided some media questions and ended the press meet abruptly with his assistants asking him to conclude the meet.
 
IANS

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Consider mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi's killer, SC tells TN Governor

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The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of A.G. Perarivalan, who is serving a life term in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
 
Perarivalan's counsel told a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Naveen Sinha and Justice K.M. Joseph that a decision was yet to be taken on his mercy petition pending for over two years. 
 
He submitted the plea to the Governor on December 30, 2015, saying he had undergone more than 24 years of solitary/single confinement.
 
Perarivalan, among the seven convicts in the case, had sought remission/pardon from the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.
 
After the court asked the Centre to take a call on Tamil Nadu's proposal to release the convicts, the central government said on August 10 in its report submitted in the court that it did not agree, holding that setting them free will set a "dangerous precedent".
 
"Releasing the killers of a former Prime Minister will set a very dangerous precedent. The case has been decided by various forums of judiciary and executive and the prisoners do not deserve to be set free," the Centre contended.
 
Releasing them will lead to "international ramifications" by other such criminals in future, it added.
 
The now-vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka was blamed for the Congress leader's assassination by a suicide bomber at an election rally near Chennai on May 21, 1991.
 
IANS
 

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CBI raids TN Minister, DGP in connection with gutka scam

CBI Headquarters in New Delhi (File photo: IANS)
CBI Headquarters in New Delhi (File photo: IANS)
CBI officials from New Delhi on Wednesday searched the residences of several persons including Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister C. Vijayabasker and Director General of Police (DGP) T. K. Rajendran in connection with a multi-crore gutka scam.
 
"Separate CBI teams conducted simultaneous raids at 40 locations in Tamil Nadu early in the morning," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told IANS in New Delhi.
 
This is the first time a serving DGP's residence in Tamil Nadu has been raided by the CBI.
 
Included in the search list are former Tamil Nadu Minister B. V. Ramanaa and retired Chennai Police Commissioner S. George.
 
The CBI action prompted calls from M. K. Stalin, leader of the main opposition DMK, to Governor Banwarilal Purohit to sack Vijayabaskar and Rajendran if they do not resign on their own.
 
PMK founder S. Ramadoss also demanded the removal of Vijayabaskar and all other raided officials from their posts.
 
Ramadoss said Vijayabaskar's residence and the other places were also raided by the Income Tax department.
 
The CBI in May-end had registered a case in the scam against unknown officials of Central Excise, Tamil Nadu government, Food Safety Department, public servants and private persons on charges of criminal conspiracy and for corruption following a direction of the Madras High Court on April 26. 
 
The agency has been investigating all aspects of the offence of illegal manufacture, import, supply, distribution and sale of gutka and other forms of chewable tobacco which are banned in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
In April 2018, the Madras High Court ordered the CBI to probe the multi-crore scam on a petition filed by DMK legislator J. Anbazhagan.
 
"The probe seems to be proceeding on the right track under the CBI. Whether a case will be filed against the scamsters or not will have to be seen," Anbazhagan told IANS. "If no case is filed, then we may have to approach the Madras High Court again."
 
Several political parties had demanded a CBI probe into the issue but the AIADMK government did not agree.
 
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In June 2018, the Enforcement Directorate registered a money laundering case against unnamed government officials in Tamil Nadu based on a first information report (FIR) registered by the CBI in May.
 
The case is related to an Income Tax Department raid in the offices, residences and godowns of a gutka manufacturer Madhava Rao in Tamil Nadu in 2016 for evading about Rs 250 crore tax.
 
A diary was seized from Rao's residence which listed alleged bribes paid to various officials amounting to about Rs 39.31 crore.
 
Stalin alleged that the AIADMK government had tried various measures to stall investigation into the scam.
 
The IT department had sent a report to the Tamil Nadu government about the alleged payoffs to various persons. 
 
The state government claimed it did not receive any report from the IT department. But a copy of the letter sent to the state government by the IT department was seized from the room occupied by V.K. Sasikala in the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's residence in November 2017.
 
The Tamil Nadu government has banned the manufacture and storage of gutka. However, the product was reportedly available in the market with the alleged connivance of police officers and others.
 
Despite objections from the opposition parties, Rajendran was given a two-year extension in 2018 by the AIADMK government.
 
IANS
 

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Thousands take part in Alagiri rally in Chennai

 
In show of strength, Alagiri leads rally to Karunanidhi memorial
 
 
Thousands took part on Wednesday in a rally organised by expelled DMK leader M.K. Alagiri here but the DMK gave no indication that it was ready to take him back into its fold.
 
Speaking to reporters after offering tributes at M.K. Karunanidhi's memorial at the Marina beach, Alagiri said the aim of the rally was to pay homage to his late father and former Chief Minister.
 
Queried about the dismissal of a DMK member by the party for receiving him at the airport on Tuesday, Alagiri wondered whether the party would dismiss "the 1.5 lakh members who participated in the peace rally" on Wednesday.
 
Several thousands of Alagiri supporters and his family members joined the rally.
 
Alagiri was dismissed from the DMK by Karunanidhi in 2014 for anti-party activities. He was opposed to his younger brother M.K. Stalin becoming the DMK leader.
 
However, after the death of Karunanidhi last month, Alagiri expressed his desire to rejoin the DMK and even said that he would accept Stalin as his leader post admission.
 
But the DMK party has not shown any sign that it will take back Alagiri.
 
On August 27, Alagiri warned in Madurai that if the DMK leadership did not take him back, then its leadership would have to face "consequences". 
 
IANS
 

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Gutka scam: CBI raids residences of TN Minister, DGP

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday raided several places in Tamil Nadu, including the residences of Health and Family Welfare Minister C. Vijayabaskar and Director General of Police (DGP) T.K. Rajendran in connection with a gutka scam, said a CBI official.
 
In April, the Madras High Court ordered CBI to probe the multi-crore gutka scam in which Minister Vijayabaskar, DGP Rajendran and several other top police and other state government officials were alleged to be involved.
 
The court ordered the CBI probe on a petition filed by DMK legislator J. Anbazhagan.
 
The case is related to an Income Tax Department raid in the offices, residences and godowns of a gutka manufacturer in Tamil Nadu in 2016.
 
A diary was then seized which listed alleged bribe payments made to various officials amounting to about Rs 39.31 crore.
 
The Tamil Nadu government has banned the manufacture and storage of gutka -- a tobacco product. However, the product was reportedly available in the market with the alleged connivance of police officers and others.
 
Several political parties had demanded the CBI probe into the scam but the AIADMK government did not agree.
 
In June, the Enforcement Directorate registered a money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against unnamed government officials in Tamil Nadu's gutka scam based on the first information report (FIR) registered by the CBI in May.
 
Despite the opposition from the opposition parties, Rajendran was given a two year extension in 2018.
 
IANS
 

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Passengers of Chennai-Patna Ganga-Kaveri express robbed in UP

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Many passengers on board a Chennai-Patna express train were robbed off their jewellery and cash by armed dacoits in Uttar Pradesh's Chitrakoot district early on Monday, police said.
 
The dacoits barged into the coaches of the Ganga-Kaveri Express around 1.30 a.m. as the train was enroute to Patna in Bihar. Over a dozen passengers were also injured in the attack.
 
Dacoits blocked the rail tracks and stopped the train as it left the Manikpur railway station and was headed for Allahabad, a police officer said. 
 
"The dacoits raised the signal near the Panhai railway station and barged into two coaches, attacked and threatened clueless sleeping passengers," he added. 
 
According to the accounts given by the passengers to the police, there were a dozen armed men. They smashed glass panes of the two sleeper-class bogies and bashed up the people inside. 
 
The dacoits took more than an hour to carry out the attack. Police arrived after someone dialed the 100 emergency service.
 
District Magistrate and other senior officials including Deputy Inspector General Chitrakoot rushed to the site. A search operation is on.
 
"Teams led by the Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Jha, additional SP Balwant Chowdhary are combing the area," an official told IANS.
 
After almost two hours of the incident the train was allowed to proceed to Allahabad on its onward journey. 
 
IANS
 

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Stalin elected as new DMK president, says BJP should be taught a lesson

M K Stalin
M K Stalin
Moments after his unanimous election as DMK President, M. K. Stalin on Tuesday dispelled notions that his party was leaning towards the BJP by accusing the Modi government of "saffronizing" India and said it should be taught a lesson.
 
He also charged the BJP-led government with trying to destroy the basics of education, art, culture and religion through religious hatred. 
 
In a hard-hitting speech to delegates at the party's General Council, which elected him as the party's second president to succeed his father M. Karunanidhi, who held the post for 49 years, Stalin also hit out at the Centre saying it was painful to note that it was destroying policies of egalitarianism, social justice and rationalist thinking. 
 
"The social and political environment that is prevailing now is a big challenge to the self-respect policies. The basics of education, art, literature and religion are being sought to be destroyed by the central government through religious hatred and on the basis of official power. 
 
"The selection process in judiciary, education and state governors and the Centre's actions are aimed at sabotaging the secular principles," he said, at times overtaken by emotion.
 
Setting two immediate tasks for his party colleagues, he urged them to join him in the fight against the Modi government and also the "spineless" AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu.
 
"Come, teach a lesson to the Modi government that is attempting to saffronize the whole of India. Unite and come to throw out the spineless AIADMK government in the state," he said to thunderous applause from the over 1,300 delegates who had earlier approved his election.
 
Senior party leader Duraimurugan was elected unopposed as Treasurer. 
 
Stalin's attack on the BJP and the central government assumes significance in the context of speculation of late that the DMK may be softening towards the saffron party after it invited BJP President Amit Shah to a memorial meeting to pay homage to Karunanidhi here on Thursday.
 
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Confessing at the outset that he was not like his father and did not have the command of the language like Karunanidhi, the 65-year-old said he would dare to try new things inspired by the late Dravidian legends Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy and C.N. Annadurai. 
 
He said the DMK was a fort founded on four pillars of rationalism, self-respect, social justice and equality. 
 
"But it is painful to see that the (state) government was spineless and without self-respect and the Centre was trying to destroy equality, social justice and rationalistic policies."
 
He charged the AIADMK government with sacrificing people-centric schemes initiated by the DMK and indulging in "daylight loot" of the state.
 
"The first duty of the DMK is to remove these social evils and rescue the state from the hands of these thieves," Stalin said, adding that the biggest danger facing the country now was the existence of political parties without any principles with the single aim of targeting offices of power and pelf.
 
Telling his party colleagues that they would be seeing a 'new Stalin' from now on, he said he dreamt of leading the party treating everyone as equal.
 
"We are not anti-God. Even if we don't believe (in God) we will respect the beliefs of believers. We will act against whoever commits wrongs, including myself," he said.
 
Stalin vowed to fight for restoration of individual right of speech and media freedom, protection of right to hold individual views and oppose parties that attempt to obliterate other languages and view the whole of India on the basis of religion. 
 
"These are not distant dreams but would be put to action just now," he said.
 
The election for party President was necessitated by the death of Karunanidhi on August 7. 
 
DMK General Secretary K. Anbazhagan, who has been a long-time associate of Karunanidhi and senior to him in age, formally announced Stalin's election, saying 1,307 party officials have proposed and seconded him..
 
Earlier, the General Council condoled the deaths of Karunanidhi, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, the anti-Sterlite copper smelter plant protesters killed in police firing in Tuticorin in May and also the victims of the Kerala floods.
 
The meeting passed a resolution demanding Bharat Ratna for Karunanidhi and announcing a grant of Rs 2 lakh for over 200 DMK workers and supporters who died of shock after learning about Karunanidhi's death.
 
IANS
 

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Stalin elected unopposed as DMK President

M K Stalin
M K Stalin
M. K. Stalin on Tuesday was elected as the DMK President unopposed at the party's General Council meeting held here.
 
Stalin, 65, becomes the second President of one of the oldest political party in the country, a post held by his late father and five times Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for 49 years.
 
The election for party President was necessitated after Karunanidhi died here on August 7.
 
DMK General Secretary K.Anbazhagan said that 1,307 party officials seconded Stalin's candidature.
 
Senior leader Duraimurugan was also elected unopposed as the party's Treasurer.
 
The General Council, before announcing the news, condoled the deaths of Karunanidhi, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, party cadres who died in shock after hearing of Karunanidhi's death, the anti-Sterlite copper smelter plant protesters who were killed in the police firing in Tuticorin in May and also the victims of the floods in Kerala.
 
IANS
 

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India will put man in space for seven days: ISRO Chairman

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For the first time, India's space agency is planning to put an Indian astronaut for seven days in space at a cost less than Rs 10,000 crore as part of its manned mission by 2022, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said on Wednesday.
 
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving the Indian Space Research Organisation the target to be achieved in the next four years, Sivan told IANS: "Our plan is to have a human being in space for seven days and not less than that. 
 
"He will be in a spacecraft, 300-400 km above earth," Sivan said, as he explained that the rocket to be used for the manned mission would be a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-Mk III).
 
He said the first unmanned flight as part of a manned space mission will happen two years from now.
 
"There will be two unmanned space missions before the actual manned space mission," Sivan added.
 
In his Independence Day address to the nation, Modi said: "In space technology, we have dreamt something; our scientists have dreamt something. And I am happy to announce that by 2022, the 75th Independence year, we are planning a manned space mission.
 
"We will put an Indian in space by 2022 or earlier," Modi said.
 
Asked about the first animal flight before the actual manned mission, Sivan said those things have to be discussed.
 
Queried about the target date set by Modi and the steps to be taken by ISRO, Sivan said: "We will have to get a formal approval for the project. The manned mission project cost will be less than Rs 10,000 crore.
 
"We are in the process of developing some of the technologies and already have some. Our idea is to develop everything within India," he added.
 
According to him, ISRO has already tested the crew module and crew escape systems.
 
The space agency on July 5 carried out a successful maiden pad abort test at its spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh for the safe escape of the crew in an emergency.
 
"The technology is very essential for our manned missions in the future," Sivan had said at an event on July 7.
 
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The critical technology is designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort.
 
"We are in the process of developing the life support system for the astronaut, space suit and other things. ISRO is doing this with the support of industries," Sivan had said.
 
The ISRO Chairman had then said that the space agency was "not close" to a human spaceflight yet.
 
"We are not close to that. We need to work a lot towards achieving the dream of putting a man in space."
 
According to him, the selection of astronaut to fly the spacecraft would be done by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the spaceflight training would be given overseas.
 
Sivan said ISRO has to set up necessary infrastructural facilities like the control centres for the proposed manned mission.
 
He said Modi's announcement was a big kickstart and as a whole the nation's science and technology sector would benefit.
 
So far, only the US, Russia and China have launched human space flights.
 
IANS
 

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DMK leaders pledge support to Stalin

M K Stalin
M K Stalin
Top DMK leaders on Tuesday made it clear that they and the party were solidly behind its Working President M.K. Stalin, whose father and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi died a week ago.
 
An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee was called at the DMK headquarters here with a single agenda - to pass a resolution condoling the death of DMK President Karunanidhi.
 
The meeting was chaired by Stalin, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
After the passage of the condolence resolution that praised Karunanidhi and listed his numerous achievements, party leaders including Duraimurugan, T. R. Baalu and others expressed their support to Stalin and urged him to take over the party's mantle.
 
"Working President and soon-to-become President, lead us and we will obey your orders," Duraimurugan thundered.
 
Addressing the gathering, former Union Minister Baalu said in a quivering voice: "The commander of the army is no more. Nobody has to tell who will be the next commander. Stalin has all the qualities to lead."
 
Several District Secretaries of the party also voiced their staunch support to Stalin as the party's top leader.
 
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On his part, a normally clean shaven Stalin, sporting an unshaven face, said: "I have lost not only my leader but also my father."
 
Opening up on the subject publicly for the first time, he said he had pleaded with Chief Minister K. Palaniswami to allot space at the Marina beach to bury Karunanidhi.
 
"I held the hands of the Chief Minister and pleaded for space. They did not agree."
 
After the announcement of Karunanidhi's death at 6.10 p.m. on August 7, the government issued a statement formally refusing a burial space at Marina.
 
Praising the DMK's legal team led by T. Wilson, Stalin said they approached the Madras High Court late at night and won the case the next day.
 
Stalin said had the case been lost, a situation would have arisen leading to his own burial next to Karunanidhi.
 
Tuesday's meeting came a day after expelled DMK leader M.K. Alagiri, Stalin's elder brother, asserted that "true loyalists" of Karunanidhi were with him and that Stalin was a poor leader.
 
Paying homage to Karunanidhi, Alagiri, expelled from the DMK in 2014 for criticizing party leaders, told reporters that he had poured his anguish about the party to his father and not about his family.
 
But as expected, the Executive Committee lined up behind Stalin.
 
The elevation of Stalin as the party President will have to be decided by the DMK's General Council. The party has not announced a date for a General Council meeting.
 
IANS
 

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DMK Executive Committee pledges support to Stalin

The DMK's Executive Committee on Tuesday made it clear that the party was solidly behind its Working President M.K. Stalin.
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The DMK's Executive Committee on Tuesday made it clear that the party was solidly behind its Working President M.K. Stalin.
 
The urgent meeting of the Executive Committee was called at the DMK headquarters here to adopt a resolution condoling the death of party President and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidi.
 
The meeting was chaired by Stalin, who is also the Leader of the Oppositon in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
After the passage of the condolence resolution, speaker after speaker including leaders like Duraimurugan, T.R. Baalu and others expressed their support to Stalin and urged him to take over the party's mantle.
 
"Working President, lead us as the party President," Duraimurugan said to cheers.
 
Addressing the gathering, former Union Minister Baalu said in a quivering voice: "The commander of the army is no more. Nobody has to tell who will be the next commander. Stalin has all the qualities to lead."
 
IANS

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Alagiri targets Stalin, days after their father Karunanidhi's death

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Six days after the death of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, his elder son and former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri on Monday asserted that "true loyalists" of his late father were with him and that his brother M.K. Stalin was a poor leader.
 
Paying homage to Karunanidhi at his memorial at the Marina Beach here, Alagiri, who was expelled from the DMK in 2014 for criticizing party leaders, told reporters that he had poured his anguish about the party to his father.
 
He said his anguish was about the party and not about the family and the public would come to know the whole story at the appropriate time.
 
Alagiri declined to comment about the DMK's Executive Committee meeting to be held here on Tuesday, stating that he was no more in the party.
 
Alagiri aspired to succeed to the DMK's top post but Karunanidhi, the DMK President until his death, picked his other son Stalin to lead the party and designated him the Working President.
 
Once considered a strongman from Madurai, Alagiri told CNN News18 that he was the right person to head the DMK and alleged that Stalin was the "Working President" of the party but was not working. 
 
Alagiri added that he was not happy with the way the party was being run. On being asked if there would be a split in the DMK, Alagiri replied how could he split the party when he was not in it in the first place. 
 
Asked if he would do better than Stalin if given an opportunity, Alagiri told CNN: "Definitely, that is what the cadres also want."
 
IANS
 

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DMK's true loyalists with me: Alagiri

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Former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri on Monday claimed that "true loyalists" of M. Karunanidhi, his father and the late DMK President, were with him.
 
Paying homage to Karunanidhi at his memorial at the Marina Beach here, Alagiri, who was expelled from the DMK in 2014 for criticizing party leaders, told reporters that he poured his anguish about the party to his father.
 
He said his anguish was about the party and not about the family and the public would come to know the whole story at the appropriate time.
 
Alagiri declined to comment about the DMK's Executive Committee meeting to be held here on Tuesday, stating that he was no more in the party.
 
Alagiri aspired to succeed to the DMK's top post but Karunanidhi, when he was alive, preferred his other son M.K. Stalin over the former.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Karunanidhi laid to rest on Marina by his mentor's side

DMK patriarch and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was buried beside his mentor C.N. Annadurai on the sands of Marina beach in Chennai on Wednesday as lakhs of commoners wept, pushed and jostled for space to bid adieu to their leader.
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
DMK patriarch and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was buried beside his mentor C.N. Annadurai on the sands of Marina beach here on Wednesday after his party clinched a midnight legal battle as lakhs of commoners wept, pushed and jostled for space to bid adieu to their leader, causing a stampede that killed two mourners and injured many.
 
The leader of the DMK for 50 long years and without doubt one of India's most experienced politicians, Karunanidhi breathed his last owing to age-related ailments in a private hospital here on Tuesday evening. There was a complete shutdown in the city and across the state. The government declared a public holiday today as a mark of respect to Karunanidhi.
 
After a two-hour funeral procession covering a distance of less than 3 km headed by the late leader's son and DMK Working President M.K. Stalin wound its way from Rajaji Hall to the Marina shores, the tri-colour wrapped body with his trademark black shades and yellow stole still intact was interred in a freshly dug grave with soldiers giving him a state funeral with full military honours.
 
A military band played "Honouring Those Who Served" as the casket was taken from the cortege to the grave. Buglers sounded the last post and gunners fired a 21-gun salute after the body of the 94-year-old five-time Chief Minister was lowered at 7 p.m. amid a crescendo of slogans. 
 
As Karunanidhi's body on a flower-decked military vehicle began its last journey from Rajaji Hall, tens of thousands of emotionally-charged men and women lined up on both sides of the road to Marina, shouting slogans hailing the departed leader for his services to the poor and the downtrodden.
 
In keeping with his rationalist beliefs, Karunanidhi's body in a sandalwood casket was lowered into the earth without religious rituals. As per his wish, the words -- "The person who had worked without rest is resting here" -- were sculpted on the casket.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and a galaxy of national opposition leaders joined the sea of mourners from across Tamil Nadu who swelled outside Rajaji Hall where the body was kept since morning for public homage.
 
Those who paid last respects included Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal ledear Tejashwi Yadav, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, his predecessor Prakash Karat, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayansamy, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 
 
Some of the leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Naidu, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Azad and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien joined the top party leaders, including 95-year-old DMK General Secretary K. Anbalagan, and members of Karunanidhi family at the burial site. 
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flew into Chennai on Tuesday night and visited Karunanidhi's Gopalapuram residence here to pay her last respects. 
 
Stalin greeted the leaders as the procession reached its destination. Union Ministers Pon Radhakrishnan and Ramdas Athawle were also present. Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar represented the AIADMK government.
 
 
Karunanidhi's final journey
 
 
Stalin and his sister Selvi broke down and cried inconsolably at the Marina beach before the body of the patriarch was interred. Stalin had wept in the morning too after the DMK won the legal battle for a burial place space.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy, his deputy O. Panneerselvam and a number of cabinet ministers also placed wreaths and paid homage at Rajaji Hall in the morning even as a legal battle was on against the AIADMK government's order allotting a burial place for Karunanidhi on Sardar Patel road.
 
After a long, midnight hearing, a two-judge bench of the Madras High Court headed by acting Chief Justice H. Ramesh rejected the government's contention and permitted the burial on the Marina beach. It also asked the government to take all steps to assist in the process.
 
A bevy of personalities from the entertainment world, including superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan and yesteryear stars, paid their respects to a leader who was long associated with the cinema through his powerful dialogue writing and screenplay scripting.
 
Chaos struck near Rajaji Hall, the British-built banquet hall in the sprawling government estate, where lakhs gathered eager to have a last glimpse of the leader. Their attempts to get near the casket resulted in commotion. Police used force to bring the situation under control but two people, including a 60-year-old-woman, lost their lives in the stampede. At least 35 people were injured.
 
Modi, who flew from Delhi in a special plane in the morning, laid a wreath on the body at Rajaji Hall. After going around the casket, the Prime Minister patted Stalin and Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, an MP, and comforted them with words of solace. The Prime Minister later tweeted that though Karunanidhi "is dead, he lives in the heart of crores of people."
 
In Delhi, as the two Houses of Parliament paid homage to the last link of the Dravidian era and adjourned for the day, the central government observed a day of national mourning. The national flag flew half-mast and all government functions were cancelled.
 
IANS

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Karunanidhi's final journey begins in Chennai

DMK President and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday began his final journey on a flower-decked military vehicle from Rajaji Hall where his body was lying in state since early in the morning.
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
DMK President and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday began his final journey on a flower-decked military vehicle from Rajaji Hall where his body was lying in state since early in the morning.
 
Karunanidhi had passed away at the Kauvery Hospital here on Tuesday evening at the age of 94.
 
The tri-colour covered body of the 94-year-old veteran politician was put on a military vehicle by military personnel shortly before 4 p.m.
 
Karunanidhi's body will be interred in a sandalwood casket and lowered into the earth at Marina Beach.
 
As per Karunanidhi's wish, the wordings -- "The person who had worked without rest is resting here" -- was sculpted on the casket.
 
DMK leader and Karunanidhi's son M.K. Stalin, accompanied by party leaders, walked ahead of the military vehicle as the funeral procession made slow progress, with thousands crowding the streets.
 
Many waved DMK's red-and-black flags and flashed pictures of Karunanidhi.
 
The DMK leader's final resting place will be near his mentor and DMK founder and former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai.
 
The Madras High Court on Wednesday gave its nod for the burial of Karunanidhi at Marina Beach after a legal battle. The government had initially refused permission. 
 
Karunanidhi, who led the DMK for the past five decades, was the Chief Minister for 19 years spread over five tenures.
 
The DMK had earlier said the vehicle carrying Karunanidhi's body will reach Anna Square on the Marina Beach, covering a distance of less than three kilometres.
 
Stalin has appealed to people to keep calm during the final journey. Shortly afterwards, two persons were killed in a stampede outside Rajaji Hall.
 
IANS

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Two dead, 35 injured in Chennai stampede

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Two persons were killed and 35 suffered minor injuries on Wednesday in a stampede outside the Rajaji Hall here as hundreds of thousands thronged for a final glimpse of DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, a hospital official said.
 
A senior official of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital told IANS: "Two persons were brought dead to the hospital with injuries arising due to trampling. One is a woman, Shanbagam, while the other person is an unidentified male."
 
The dead woman was said to be 60 years old. 
 
The official added that another 35 persons were brought to the hospital with minor injuries. Some were dehydrated. They were given treatment.
 
"There has been heavy jostling and pushing and pulling in the crowd since morning," one man at the site said, explaining what led to the stampede.
 
The tragedy occurred shortly after DMK leader and Karunanidhi's son M.K. Stalin appealed for calm to the milling crowds which were getting restive at not being able to get close to the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's body.
 
IANS
 

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Modi pays tributes to Karunanidhi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday paid homage to late DMK President M. Karunanidhi after laying a wreath on his body that was lying in state at Rajaji Hall here.
 
Arriving here by a special flight, Modi reached the government estate and paid his respects to the late former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
 
After going around the casket in which the body lay wrapped in the tri-color, the Prime Minister patted M.K. Stalin, Karunanidhi's son and political heir, and his daughter Kanimozhi, MP, and comforted them with words of solace.
 
After exchanging a few words with them, Modi also comforted other family members and left the place. 
 
Modi, in November last year, visited the Gopalapuram residence of Karunanidhi and urged him to come to the Prime Minister's official residence in Delhi for medical care if he wanted.
 
Though the Prime Minister's visit was acknowledged as a political nicety in deference to the senior-most political leader of the country, observers also feel it could send signals to the DMK ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state where uncertainty clouds the political scene.
 
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwari Lal Purohit, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and state BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan. Sitharaman also comforted Stalin and Kanimozhi.
 
Modi also greeted with folded hands the crowd of mourners who shouted to acknowledge his atrrival. Stalin and other DMK leaders saw him off.
 
IANS

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Madras HC allows Karunanidhi to be buried at Marina Beach

After an overnight drama, the DMK won a legal battle on Wednesday when the Madras High Court allowed the burial of DMK President and five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi at Marina Beach in the city.
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
After an overnight drama, the DMK won a legal battle on Wednesday when the Madras High Court allowed the burial of DMK President and five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi  at Marina Beach in the city.
 
Karunanidhi passed away at the Kauvery Hospital here on Tuesday evening at the age of 94.
 
The High Court bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice S.S. Sundar turned down the arguments of the state government against the burial of Karunanidhi's body at Marina Beach.
 
DMK leader and lawyer Kannadasan told reporters that the court also asked the government to make arrangements for the burial.
 
The party cadres and leaders assembled at Rajaji Hall, where Karunanidhi's body has been lying in state for public homage, erupted in joy on hearing the news.
 
An emotional M.K. Stalin, DMK's Working President and son of Karunanidhi, broke down on hearing the news and so did top leaders including Duraimurugan, A.Raja and K. Kanimozhi, who is also Karunanidhi's daughter.
 
Duraimurugan and A. Raja comforted Stalin and other family members including former Union Minister and Karunanidhi's grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi.
 
Earlier, all the petitioners who had filed a case against the memorial for AIADMK's late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said they are withdrawing their petitions and the court dismissed their pleas.
 
The DMK wanted Karunanidhi to be interred near the seafront memorial of DMK founder and Karunanidhi's mentor C.N. Annadurai.
 
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The DMK approached the Madras High Court on Tuesday night after the state government declined their request. The hearing went on till midnight when the court adjourned the case directing the state government and Chennai Corporation to file their affidavits on Wednesday.
 
The AIADMK government late on Tuesday rejected the request and asked the DMK to bury Karunanidhi on Sardar Patel Road which is home to memorials dedicated to Rajaji (C. Rajagopalachari) and K. Kamaraj.
 
The court asked the government counsel to explain the legal issues in allotting space at Marina Beach as mentioned in the statement issued by the government on Tuesday.
 
The DMK counsel argued that the government is citing minor issues for rejecting the party's request for space at Marina Beach for burying Karunanidhi.
 
The DMK said Karunanidhi is an ardent follower of party founder and Annadurai. Since AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran was also a follower of Annadurai he was buried near the latter's memorial.
 
According to DMK, the ideologies of late Congress leaders like Rajagopalachari and Kamaraj are different from that of what was followed by Dravidian leaders like Annadurai and Karunanidhi.
 
Hence it will not be appropriate to bury Karunanidhi at the site offered by the state government.
 
The DMK also argued that the Chennai Corporation has announced the Annadurai memorial Beach as a burial site.
 
IANS

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Nation pays homage to Karunanidhi amid legal battle

Tens of thousands of emotionally charged people from all over Tamil Nadu on Wednesday paid homage to DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi even as his party battled legally with the state government for a burial place for him at the Marina Beach here.
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
Tens of thousands of emotionally charged people from all over Tamil Nadu on Wednesday paid homage to DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi even as his party battled legally with the state government for a burial place for him at the Marina Beach here.
 
Led by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, DMK members, leaders and people from all walks of life -- VIPs and others --filed past the mortal remains of Karunanidhi at the Rajaji Hall in the heart of Chennai.
 
A legal battle reigned in the residence-court of Madras High Court Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice S.S. Sundar, on where Karunanidhi, 94, who died on Tuesday evening should be buried. 
 
The DMK wants him interred near the seafront memorial of DMK founder and Karunanidhi's mentor C. N. Annadurai. 
 
The DMK approached the Madras High Court on Tuesday night. The hearing went on till midnight when the court adjourned the case directing the state government and Chennai Corporation to file their affidavits on Wednesday.
 
The AIADMK government late on Tuesday rejected the request and asked the DMK to bury Karunanidhi on Sardar Patel Road which is home to memorials dedicated to Rajaji (C. Rajagopalachari) and K. Kamaraj.
 
While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flew into Chennai on Tuesday night, a host of national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are expected to arrive here on Wednesday to attend the last rites.
 
Early on Wednesday Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam along with people from different walks of life -- leaders, actors, industrialists and others -- paid homage to their departed leader. Purohit also had a few words with Karunanidhi's son and DMK leader M.K. Stalin.
 
Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal, Minister for Fisheries D. Jayakumar, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai and other party leaders also paid homage to Karunanidhi.
 
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth also paid his respects and consoled the family members of the DMK patriarch. Industrialists Venu Srinivasan and Mallika Srinivasan were some of the others who paid their respects and also consoled the family members.
 
Chief Minister for five times and leader of DMK party for 50 years, the 94-year-old breathed his last owing to age-related ailments in a private hospital here on Tuesday evening.
 
His mortal remains were brought to the Rajaji Hall early on Wednesday after it was taken to his homes at Gopalapuram here and at CIT Colony for relatives and leaders to pay their last respects.
 
The veteran politician's body was covered with the national flag.
 
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On Tuesday, the Union Home Ministry in a statement said the Trocolour will fly half-mast on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
 
"It has also been decided to accord state funeral to the departed soul. The funeral will take place in Chennai on Wednesday and the government of India will observe one-day state mourning throughout the country. 
 
"There will be no official entertainment on the day," the Home Ministry statement said.
 
Leaders of the DMK party have assembled at the Rajaji Hall. A large number of people have gathered outside to pay their last respects to the iconic leader.
 
Outside the hall, DMK party cadres are shouting "Marina Vendum, Marina Vendum "(want Marina) referring to the party's request for a burial site at Marina Beach here, which was turned down by the state government on Tuesday.
 
Acting Chief Justice Ramesh and Justice Sundar are hearing the matter and will settle the issue on Wednesday morning.
 
Normally busy roads wore a deserted look and many shops have downed their shutters.
 
The Tamil Nadu government has announced a holiday for schools and state government offices and undertakings on Wednesday as a mark of respect for Karunanidhi.
 
Private bus operators have stopped their services to and from Chennai till Wednesday evening. However people from different parts of the state are reaching Chennai using other modes of transport.
 
IANS
 

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Karunanidhi's body kept at Rajaji Hall for public, leaders to pay respects

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A large number of people have gathered outside the Rajaji Hall here to pay their last respects to DMK President M.Karunanidhi, who died on Tuesday evening due to age related ailments.
 
The mortal remains of Karunanidhi were brought to Rajaji Hall early on Wednesday after it was taken to his homes at Gopalapuram here and at CIT Colony for relatives and leaders to pay their last respects to the departed leader.
 
A Chief Minister for five times, the 94-year old veteran politician Karunanidhi's body is covered with the national flag.
 
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth paid his respects to Karunanidhi and consoled the family members of the DMK leader.
 
Leaders of DMK party have assembled at Rajaji Hall.
 
IANS
 

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Madras High Court to decide on burial site for Karunanidhi's body

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The Madras High Court will on Wednesday morning decide on the DMK's plea against the Tamil Nadu's government's decision to deny burial of party President M. Karunanidhi's body at Marina Beach.
 
Hearing the plea late Tuesday night, the court directed the state government and the Chennai Corporation to file their replies and adjourned the case to Wednesday morning 8 a.m.
 
At the hearing the state government had opposed the allotment of space at Marina Beach for burial of Karunanidhi's body.
 
On Tuesday, the DMK party and family members of Karunanidhi had requested the state government for allotment of space near DMK founder C.N. Annadurai's memorial at the Marina Beach.
 
Citing pending cases against the burial of bodies at the Marina Beach, the AIADMK government had said it was ready to allot two acres near Gandhi Mandapam on Sardar Patel Road where Raj Bhavan is located.
 
On Tuesday, the government decision drew flak from leaders cutting across party lines including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, MDMK's Vaiko, DMDK's Vijayakanth and PMK's S. Ramadoss, who favoured a memorial on the Marina Beach. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and the CPI(M) also joined the chorus.
 
Ramadoss urged the ruling party not to indulge in politics in this matter, saying the reason stated by the government is not acceptable.
 
Ramadoss said even when AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa was buried at the Marina Beach there were court cases pending. Her body was buried at the Marina Beach within the memorial of AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran.
 
He said Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 19 years and his last rites should be done in a decent manner.
 
The mortal remains of AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran and his successor Jayalalithaa are buried near Annadurai's memorial on the Marina Beach.
 
A five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi died after battling age-related ailments at Kauvery Hospital on Tuesday evening.
 
IANS
 

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Chennai bus operators, theatres cancel services on Wednesday

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Private bus operators have decided to stop their services to and from Chennai till Wednesday evening as large numbers of passengers have cancelled their tickets and also as a precautionary measure, said an office-bearer of All Omni Bus Operators Association.
 
"About 75-85 per cent of the passengers decided to cancel their tickets on Wednesday. As a result, the bus operators have decided to cancel the services to and from Chennai till 6 p.m tomorrow (Thursday)," A. Anbalagan, general secretary, All Omni Bus Operators Association told IANS.
 
According to him, about 1,000 private buses are operated out of Chennai to other parts of Tamil Nadu.
 
About 10,000 passengers use the private buses to and from Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore, he said.
 
Theatre owners have cancelled shows starting tonight and said ticket rates would be refunded.
 
Following Karunanidhi's death, several shops in different parts of the state downed their shutters.
 
Former Chief Minister and DMK President M.Karunanidhi breathed his last here at Kauvery Hospital where he was admitted on July 28.
 
IANS
 

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Karunanidhi's mortal remains to be taken to his Gopalapuram residence

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The mortal remains of DMK President M. Karunanidhi will be taken to his home at Gopalapuram here from the Kauvery Hospital and then to Rajaji Hall for people to pay their last respects, said a senior DMK leader.
 
"The plan is to take our leader's body to his residence at Gopalapuram. And from there to Rajaji Hall for people to pay their last respects," the leader told IANS.
 
As per plans, Karunanidhi's mortal remains will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
 
Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times, died on Tuesday evening at the Kauvery Hospital.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Karunanidhi: A colossus in Dravidian politics

M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
Muthuvel Karunanidhi was one of the last links to the Dravidian movement that ushered in the rise of backward classes in politics and the end of Congress rule in Tamil Nadu five decades ago on the plank of social justice.
 
A five-time Chief Minister, the 94-year-old Karunanidhi, who strode the public life of Tamil Nadu like a colossus, also played a key role in national politics when he aligned with Indira Gandhi in 1971 and reaped rich rewards in elections. 
 
But he staunchly opposed the Emergency of 1975-77 during which his government was dismissed on corruption charges. He was banished to the opposition ranks till the death of his friend-turned-foe and iconic film hero M.G. Ramachandran or MGR in December 1987.
 
Under Karunanidhi, the DMK occupied a prime position in the UPA governments at the Centre in 2004 and 2009 and earlier in the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpyee, an alignment that surprised many given the party's Dravidian moorings.
 
He was a wily politician who succeeded his mentor C.N. Annadurai or 'Anna' as Chief Minister in 1969 and kept a stranglehold on the party and government. He remained the President of the DMK for nearly 50 years, a rare feat in any democratic country. 
 
He always sported dark glasses, which became his trademark identity, and in later years a yellow stole, which critics said was against the atheism he preached.
 
With the death of his arch rival J. Jayalalithaa in 2016 and his departure now, Tamil Nadu is left with a void.
 
Born in Tirukkuvalai in the erstwhile Thanjavur district on June 3, 1924, Karunanidhi was a multifaceted personality -- journalist, playwright, script writer -- whose fiery dialogues as an iconoclast in films unleashed changes in Tamil Nadu's social scene.
 
He joined the Dravidian movement as a teenager under the tutelage of the late social reformer 'Periyar' E.V. Ramasamy and Anna. 
 
'Kalaignar', as Karunanidhi was called for his proficiency in arts and literature, fashioned theatre and cinema in a way that gave a fillip to the Dravidian movement and the rise of DMK as a major pole in Tamil Nadu. 
 
Karunanidhi's political fortunes rose when Anna broke away from the DK to float the DMK in 1949. The box office hit of Tamil movie 'Parasakthi' for which he wrote the script and a 'rail roko' agitation in Kallakudi near Tiruchirapalli made him known throughout the state.
 
He ascended to the DMK throne and the Chief Ministership following the death of party founder Annadurai in 1969.
 
Karunanidhi had the party in his strong grip till the end despite presiding over two major splits and being out of power continuously between 1977 and 1989.
 
Born in a poor Isai Vellalar (a backward caste) family, he was named Dakshinamurthy by his god-fearing parents Muthuvel and Anjugam. He later changed that to Karunanidhi, a Tamil name shorn of any Brahminical or Sanskrit tinge.
 
He also took part in the anti-Hindi agitations of 1937-40 and published a handwritten newspaper 'Manavar Nesan' (Friend of Students) and later formed the first student wing of the Dravidian movement, Tamil Nadu Manavar Mandram.
 
The anti-Hindi agitation was revived by the DMK in 1965, leading to massive anti-Congress sentiments amid much violence. 
 
Karunanidhi also published 'Murasoli', a monthly which grew to become a weekly and the DMK's official daily. Last year it celebrated its platinum jubilee. 
 
He contested his first Assembly election in 1957 from Kulithalai successfully and since then has not lost any of the 13 elections he contested.
 
His fortunes gained further strength when the DMK won the 1967 elections and Annadurai made Karunanidhi the Minister of Public Works.
 
After Anna's death in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister. He led the DMK to a landslide win in 1971. 
 
Bad times started soon after. Perceiving the popularity of movie hero and party leader MGR as a future threat to him, Karunanidhi began sidelining him and ousted him in 1972.
 
MGR floated the AIADMK that took power in 1977. He cultivated the Congress well -- sharing liberally the Lok Sabha seats while retaining his hold on the Assembly -- to effectively consign the DMK to the opposition benches.
 
DMK's fortunes revived in 1989 when it won handsomely, assisted by a split in AIADMK, with one faction led by its founder's widow Janaki Ramachandran and the other by Jayalalithaa.
 
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However, in 1991, the DMK government was dismissed in the wake of heightened activities in Tamil Nadu of Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers whose vocal supporter he was. After Rajiv Gandhi's assassination by a LTTE suicide bomber in May 1991, the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa swept to power.
 
The DMK suffered a second split in 1993 when Karunanidhi saw fiery speaker Vaiko as a threat to his son M.K. Stalin's ascendancy in the party and expelled him.
 
After that it was a see-saw battle with people choosing DMK and AIADMK alternatively. In 2006, the DMK was voted back to power for its populist promises.
 
In 2011 Karunanidhi promised more, but the DMK lost the battle. In 2016, too, it suffered the same fate.
 
A staunch opponent of Congress and its dynastic rule during earlier days, Karunanidhi later changed tack and paved the way for his progenies' progress within and outside the party.
 
He brought his sons -- through his second wife Dayalu -- M.K. Alagiri and M.K.Stalin -- into the party. Alagiri became Union Minister while Stalin was declared the political heir. However Alagiri was dismissed from the party later for anti-party activities.
 
Karunanidhi made Kanimozhi, his daughter by his third wife Rajathi, a Rajya Sabha member.
 
After the death of Murasoli Maran, his nephew, conscience keeper and the party's face in Delhi, Karunanidhi got the former's second son Dayanidhi Maran a Cabinet post in the central ministry in 2004 and 2009.
 
With coalitions becoming the norm at the Centre, the DMK started siding with BJP and Congress to get cabinet berths.
 
It was the Sarkaria Commission which first stamped Karunanidhi as corrupt in the matter of allotting tenders for the old Veeranam water project. 
 
Though Karunanidhi was jailed several times during his long political innings, what shocked many was his midnight arrest by the Jayalalithaa regime in 2001 on corruption charges.
 
His wife Dayalu and daughter Kaimozhi were questioned by the CBI over corruption charges. 
 
When the Sethusamudram Canal Project got mired in controversy, Karunanidhi shocked the nation by wondering aloud whether Lord Rama was an engineer to build a bridge across the sea. 
 
Karunanidhi donated his home at Gopalapuram to a trust to convert it into a hospital for the poor after his and his wife Dayalu's lifetime.
 
Karunanidhi is survived by his two wives Dayalu and Rajathi, sons M.K. Muthu, Alagiri, Stalin and M.K. Tamilarasu and daughters S. Selvi and Kanimozhi and grandchildren.
 
IANS
 

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DMK leader M. Karunanidhi passes away at 94

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam patriarch M. Karunanidhi, who played a stellar role in state politics for decades and whose party played an influential role in national politics, passed away here today due to age-related problems.
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
M. Karunanidhi (File photo: IANS)
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam patriarch M. Karunanidhi, who played a stellar role in state politics for decades and whose party played an influential role in national politics,  passed away here today due to age-related problems.
 
He was 94.
 
"With deep anguish, we announce the demise of our beloved Kaiaignar Dr. M. Karunanidhi on 07.08.2018 at 06.10 PM. Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to rescuscitate him, he failed to respond," a statement from Kauvery Hospital, where he was admitted on July 28, said.
 
""We profoundly mourn the loss of one of the tallest leaders of India and share the grief of family members and fellow Tamilians worldwide," the statement by Dr. Aravindan Selvaraj, Executive Director of the hospital, said.
 
A five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi was in a critical state throughout his 11-day stay in hospital and his health deteriorated further today. The hospital had earlier in the day described his condition as "extremely critical and unstable".
 
Thousands of DMK supporters, men and women, stood vigil outside the hospital during the past few days, hoping against hope that their leader would recover.
 
"Ezhundhu Vaa Thalaivaa" (Awake, our leader) and "Vaa, Vaa, Gopalapuram Polaam Vaa" (Come, Come, let's go to Gopalapuram) were some of the slogans they raised, in a reference to the locality where the former Chief Minister lived.
 
Ahead of the announcement, the Tamil Nadu police stepped up security arrangements in Chennai and all other parts of the state.
 
Earlier in the day, Karunanidhi's son and DMK leader M.K. Stalin met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami along with his family members and senior party colleagues. 
 
Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital on July 18 for change of tracheostomy tube. 
On July 26, the hospital said Karunanidhi was suffering from a urinary tract infection and he was being treated at home with intravenous anti-biotics and fluids.
 
His condition worsened on July 28 with a drop in his blood perssure and he was shifted to the hospital, where he finally breathed his last this evening.
 
During his hospitalisation, dignitaries such as President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several other leaders visited the hospital and met Stalin and other members of his family.
 
IANS adds:
 
The news of the mass leader's death cast a pall of gloom across the sprawling state which he had enticed all his political career through powerful oratory and script writing that changed the course of politics and the way Tamil cinema was made and helped the DMK's growth. He was just 14 when be became a student activist.
 
Men and women, who had been praying for their leader's recovery, wailed outside the hospital as news of his death broke. By then, Chennai was already tense, with residents stocking essentials like milk and vegetables anticipating a state-wide shutdown. 
 
The mortal remains of the DMK President will be taken to his home in Gopalapuram here and then to Rajaji Hall for people to pay their last respects. The Tamil Nadu government announced a week-long mourning.
 
A DMK leader said Karunanidhi's mortal remains will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of Chief Ministers, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several others from across the country are expected to fly to Chennai on Wednesday.
 
Karunanidhi leaves two wives -- Dayalu and Rajathi, three sons including DMK Working President M.K. Stalin and former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, daughter Kanimozhi (MP) and several grandchildren.
 
The DMK patriarch, who had faded from public life for nearly two years, had been in and out of hospital on account of age-related ailments. 
 
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Even before the grim bulletins on his health were issued by the, Karunanidhi's family and the state appeared to be preparing for the inevitable.
 
Stalin accompanied by Alagiri and Kanimozhi and top leaders of the party met Chief Minister E. Palaniswami and pressed for Karunanidhi's body to be interred on the Marina Beach near DMK stalwart C.N. Annadurai's mausoleum. But the government declined the request. 
 
Karunanidhi, who only 10 days ago completed 49 years as DMK chief, led his party through various ups and downs against charismatic rivals M.G. Ramachandran, who had banished him to the opposition ranks till his own death in 1987, and J. Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016. 
 
From 1967, when the DMK ousted the Congress for ever from power in the state, Tamil Nadu has been ruled either by the DMK or AIADMK.
 
Succeeding his mentor Annadurai in 1969 as Chief Minister, Karunanidhi maintained a strong hold over the party and government.
 
Though he didn't aspire for politics beyond Tamil Nadu, the multi-faceted leader played key roles in national politics starting from when he aligned with Indira Gandhi in 1969 on issues like bank nationalisation and later in the formation of coalition governments under V.P. Singh, H.D. Deve Gowda, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.
 
Once the ethnic conflict erupted in Sri Lanka in 1983, Karunanidhi became a champion of the Tamil cause and, later, the Tamil Tigers, often putting pressure on New Delhi to change its course vis-a-vis Colombo. But the LTTE's assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 almost wiped out the DMK, leaving him as the sole winner in Assembly elections.
 
It was one of the 13 Assembly elections he never lost and which helped him rule Tamil Nadu five times.
 
As Chief Minister, he had pioneered several welfare schemes and introduced freebies in the country's politics. An avowed atheist, Karunanidhi was known for his trademark dark glasses as well as a yellow stole. The latter, critics felt, betrayed his hidden superstitious feelings.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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