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Karunanidhi pens victory poem: politics of vengeance no more

Friday 12 May 2006, by MENON*Jaya

CHENNAI, May 11 : Last night, 82-year-old Muthuvel Karunanidhi was a picture of anxiety when he made his usual visit to the DMK office to meet party seniors and visitors. Looking unusually tired, he then headed for the CIT colony home of his second wife, Rajathi Ammal. After chatting with daughter Kanimozhi and playing with his grandson, the DMK chief had a light meal of idlis and retired for the night.

This morning, he woke up looking even more worried. As counting began and the first trends began to filter, Karunanidhi picked up his pen and began to write a poem for his cadres. The poem, meant for party organ Murasoli’s Friday edition, was titled Election Victory. But woven into the main theme was Kalaignar’s firm advice to the cadres: the DMK will not resort to politics of vengeance.

Buoyed by exit polls, all predicting a victory for the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance, Karunanidhi, a seasoned politician of more than six decades, had an inkling that victory was his this time. By 9.30 am, he was wading through a sea of jubilant party workers at his Gopalapuram residence where first wife Dayalammal stays.

As he set out for Anna Arivalayam, the massive Dravidian style building which houses the DMK headquarters, Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa refused to leave her farm house in Siruthavoor on Chennai’s fringes. She sent her resignation to the Governor through a messenger this evening.

But there was a reason for Karunanidhi to extend an olive branch to his arch rival. For the first time, Karunanidhi may well sit across Jayalalithaa in the Secretariat building in Fort St George, debating on state matters. Perhaps this is what prompted him to reassure Jayalalithaa that there would be no more vendetta politics. He called for a more “healthy relationship” between the ruling party and the Opposition.

If this happens, it will be a new trend in Dravidian politics where rival politicians refuse to even look at each other. When Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister from 1991-96, Karunanidhi, whose party was wiped out in the post-Rajiv Gandhi assassination wave, was among the two from his party who won. But he resigned from his membership, owning responsibility for his party’s debacle.

In 1996, the AIADMK regime was swept out of power in an anti-corruption wave with Jayalalithaa herself losing the Bargur constituency to a first-time DMK candidate. In 2001, the DMK lost badly, winning only 29 seats, but Karunanidhi who won from the Chepauk constituency, refused to enter the Assembly, merely signing the register occasionally to keep his membership alive. Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister from February 2002.

So, time and again, the two leaders failed to meet in the Assembly.

But if Jayalalithaa now decides to take him on by attending the Assembly, where her party will have 60 members, the Tamil Nadu House may well see some fireworks. Anticipating such an eventuality, Karunanidhi, while speaking to reporters as the results came in, reiterated that the DMK would not go for “politics of vengeance”.

“The new DMK-led government will continue the marriage assistance scheme of Rs 15,000 for poor women. The AIADMK can also join in and offer the promised four gram gold thali (mangalsutra). It will pave the way for a healthy relationship between the two rival parties,” he said.

See online : The Indian Express

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