Karunanidhi and MGR: A checkered friendship, and a lesson in civility and empathy | The News Minute
When Jayalalitha visited the hospital to call on MGR, she was . Their relationship goes back to MGR's film career, for Veerappan was . For good measure, Karunanidhi undertook a quick tour of South Arcot district to test the. Karunanidhi does not exist without Congress(I) support: M.G. M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), the super star of Tamil films who first became . A. I am not thinking of what kind of relationship I should have with the Congress(I). . Virat Kohli explains why Ishant Sharma was angry despite Adelaide Test victory. The dominance of both Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi in modern Tamil Based upon her close relationship on and off screen with MGR, gossip them in the disguise of a poet in order to test them in their knowledge and.
On the roads of Madras and other towns in the districts, small processions of men. Posters went up on walls and in buses, praying for MGR's recovery. Frequently, unconfirmed rumours spread like wildfire amid fears that the doctors were not revealing the whole truth. On at least two occasions, the crowds threatened to get violent as word spread that MGR was dead. And the doctor's unspoken fear was that if the patient failed to survive, the hospital would almost certainly become the focus of an enraged mob's anguished fury.
As the chief minister struggled for his life, the world outside was thrown into confusion and suspense. As cabinet ministers made Apollo their headquarters, the state's administration virtually ground to a halt. But this was quickly followed by a discreet struggle for the succession as senior members of the state Cabinet realised that the chief minister would be out of action for some weeks, if not months.
Even more important, however, the parliamentary and state assembly elections loomed ahead.
Karunanidhi does not exist without Congress(I) support: M.G. Ramachandran
Or would MGR's recovery prove too slow for him to wage a campaign effectively and to hold office, so that what is essentially a one-man party collapses like a house of cards? With the medical picture still unclear, there were no immediate answers to these questions. But with Tamil Nadu's 39 Lok Sabha seats hanging in the balance at a time when Mrs Gandhi needed desperately to count on at least one of the southern states as being "safe", MGR's illness acquired a national, political significance that quickly made him a vital factor in the election calculus.
Sivaji Ganesan, the veteran of films who is also the chairman of the Congress I 's campaign committee in the state, realised this quickly enough, and telephoned New Delhi three days after MGR suffered his crippling stroke.
Dhawan said she would come a little later, but I said she must come immediately. And she came that day itself. These gestures to a Tamil hero won her instant goodwill in a state which has traditionally voted for personalities rather than party platforms - Kamaraj, Annadurai, Karunanidhi and MGR himself.
Nedunchezhiyan took charge as the de facto chief minister, but R. Veerappan is the party strongman who has the backing of the MGR fan clubs. For close to a decade, the matinee idol-turned-politician has monopolised the floodlights as only a man who has straddled Tamil Nadu's intertwined worlds of cinema and politics can.
As a hero of scores of films, many of them with a political message, his name was a household word even 20 years ago. And his well-known acts of personal charity - distributing food and clothes to the poor - had then earned him a special affection bordering on worship. If he merely sipped a glass of orange juice offered to him at a public meeting, the rest of the liquid would be diluted in buckets of water, which would then be passed around for his fans to drink as theertham or holy water.
Slumlords in the industrial town of Coimbatore used to pull down giant film hoardings of MGR and hire them to slum women to sleep on at night.
To the extent that MGR was the party and vice versa, the prospect of facing an election without a politically active MGR threw the AIADMK's largely faceless second rung of leaders into a state of uncertainty and depression.
Devoid of any strong political ideology, and almost hamstrung by the record of an administration generally recognised as flabby and unexciting, the party suddenly seemed in danger of losing its raison d'etre.
For MGR had carried personality-oriented politics to its ultimate degree, keeping his party under control by making it almost completely dependent on him for its votes. Almost inevitably, then, the prospect of a politically incapacitated chief minister led to immediate factional tussles within the AIADMK.VIDEO: Jayalalitha Pushed Off at MGR's Funeral Full Video
And the first casualty was the one person whom MGR had seemed to be grooming as his political successor: For close to two years, MGR had risked antagonising virtually every leader in his party by pushing Jayalalitha to the forefront, making her the party's propaganda secretary and then giving her a ticket to the Rajya Sabha. Orders were issued that cabinet ministers must stand up when she arrived to address a public function - which had the immediate result of ministers becoming reluctant to share any public platform with her.
And revenue minister S. Somasundaram's exit from the party in September had more than a little to do with the emergence of Jayalalitha as a major political factor. But with MGR ill and incapacitated,the party bosses lost no time in getting their own back. When Jayalalitha visited the hospital to call on MGR, she was denied access to his suite. She was given no say in any of the consultations on his treatment. And when, in a desperate effort to stay in the limelight, she issued a statement in the name of the party saying that the doctors had called in Japanese specialists to take a look at the chief minister, the party general secretary P.
Shanmugham denied that the statement had been issued by the party office. Shanmugham told India Today: But that does not mean that I approve of the press release issued by the MP. Somasundaram, could be a key factor in three or four districts. There was some speculation as to whether MGR's 15, manrams fan clubs and their 18 lakh members constituting the backbone of the party machinery would stand by her. But a prominent leader of the grandiosely-styled All-World MGR Manrams Association put this to rest very quickly when he referred to Jayalalitha in terms that bordered on abuse, and said the fan clubs blamed her for MGR's health problems.
Jayalalitha herself was not available for comment, claiming first that she had no time for a week, and later reporting sick herself. With virtually every politician of note in the state writing off her political future, her isolation seemed complete.
Meanwhile, a more crucial power struggle surfaced in the state cabinet as key ministers jockeyed into position for a succession battle. Three days after the chief minister suffered his crippling stroke, V. Nedunchezhiyan, finance minister and the No.
Khurana privately at Raj Bhavan. The cabinet met two days later amid speculation that Nedunchezhiyan, a political lightweight despite his seniority and experience, had staked his claim to being appointed acting chief minister. At the cabinet meeting itself. Chokalingam was asked to leave midway through. But the vital political discussion that followed seemed to have led to a stalemate, because the only decision of note was that Nedunchezhiyan would look after the chief minister's files for the time being.
This was on the strength of Nedunchezhlyan's word that MGR had orally instructed him along these lines before he suffered his stroke. But political rivals privately questioned this on two grounds: But Nedunchezhiyan was quick to counter categorically: The governor is supposed to act on the advice of the "council of ministers, headed by the chief minister". But with the chief minister out of action, could the cabinet give the govern or advice that was constitutionally valid?
Indeed, could the cabinet meet at all? And what should the course of action be if the chief minister remained unable to communicate for weeks on end because of his loss of speech and partial paralysis? And I am taking legal advice on what to do. Krishnamurthy, and initially worked out a delicate compromise that came close to cutting constitutional corners. The cabinet would not meet, but the ministers would sit together informally to sort out files needing interministerial coordination.
No major policy decisions would be taken. And the chief minister's advice would be sought as soon as he was in a position to clearly give it. But towards the month-end, Nedunchezhiyan emerged as the de facto chief minister, signalling a temporary victory for him. Khurana issued a formal notification assigning the chief minister's portfolios to Nedunchezhiyan during the period of the chief minister's treatment, and said Nedunchezhiyan would also convene and preside over cabinet meetings in MGR's absence.
Right on cue, DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, criticised the "undue haste shown by the governor in allocating all the chief minister's portfolios to the finance minister". These decisions followed official communications that Khurana received on October 20 and 21 from Nedunchezhiyan, from the chief secretary and from the private secretary to the chief minister, all stating that MGR had orally instructed Nedunchezhiyan to look after his portfolios.
And the advocate-general told the governor that the chief minister's oral instructions amounted to "advice" under the Constitution. If that signalled the first phase of the leadership struggle in the party. Nedunchezhiyan sought to consolidate his position by immediately rushing to New Delhi for political consultations with Mrs Gandhi on holding the assembly elections due only in June simultaneously with the Lok Sabha poll, and on continuing the AIADMK-Congress I poll alliance.
Nedunchezhiyan told newsmen in Delhi that even these actions of his were based on MGR's oral instructions a day before he suffered his stroke. How These moves will be viewed by other leaders in the party remains to be seen. Nedunchezhiyan, despite his standing and seniority, is not a party heayweight. He was the ranking minister in C.
Annadurai's cabinet duringbut after Annadurai's death he was beaten in the succession struggle by M. Karunanidhi even though Nedunchezhiyan had been appointed acting chief minister during the final weeks of Annadurai's struggle against cancer. In case MGR is now unable to return to active politics, will history repeat itself and Nedunchezhiyan be pipped at the post again? Rajaram and Industry Minister C. But the party strongman is R.
Veerappan, the minister for information and religious endowments, who has been MGR's trusted aide for many years. Their relationship goes back to MGR's film career, for Veerappan was the production manager for a number of MGR's films and has handled his finances as well. He has also been a key figure in the party as a patron of the chief minister's fan clubs, and a spokesman of the All-World MGR Manrams Association said that fully half the party's MLA's were "patrons" of the fan clubs, and that all of them would back Veerappan in a leadership struggle.
And in a situation where a confused parry wonders which way to turn while its leader lies seriously ill, Mrs Gandhi might well want to call the shots within the AIADMK so that its alliance with the Congress I continues. For the Congress I an alliance with one of the Kazhagams is critical as the party has no machinery or leadership worth the name in the state. Ramachandran - and Mrs Gandhi might well use him and Nedunchezhiyan to swing the party her way for the coming electoral battle.
The installation of Nedunchezhiyan as the de facto chief minister was a clear advantage in such a scenario, and Nedunchezhiyan's comments after his half-hour meeting in New Delhi with Mrs Gandhi suggested that things had gone well.
If these events were consolidated by other developments, the dice would clearly be loaded against Veerappan and any ambitions that he may have been nursing. But if the political picture appeared to present Mrs Gandhi with an opportunity to influence the decisions of the AIADMK, opposition leaders in the state were quick to point out that Mrs Gandhi had not lost a single opportunity in the past to wreck regional parties by fostering dissension within.
He appeared more vengeful in his third and last term, when he abolished the Legislative Council. It was a preemptive strike, for Kalaignar was to take over as the Leader of the Opposition in the upper house. In the Opposition now, Kalaignar Karunanidhi would at every turn embarrass and expose the MGR administration as inept, kowtowing to the Centre and famously corrupt. MGR himself would set up two commissions to probe these charges of corruption, and the Centre would oblige Kalaignar Karunanidhi — an ally then — by naming the Ray Commission.
Nevertheless, despite all this recrimination and enmity, the two leaders showed much respect, decorum and bonhomie in the Legislative Assembly. Samy, in which he starred as the hero and I was the scriptwriter.
Did Jayalalithaa provoke an enmity between MGR and Karunanidhi? | The News Minute
The memories of us staying in Coimbatore in the same house, exchanging views on politics and society, working together in the film world—our friendship maturing to the point of us serving in the same movement—cannot be forgotten and will forever remain green.
Our comradeship in the film world would grow strong through our association in several films such as Abhimanyu, Marudhanaatu Ilavarasi, Mandhirikumari, Naam, Malaikallan, Kanchi Thalaivan, Engal Thangam, Pudhumaipithan and Arasilangkumari.
With that same sense of friendship, we were inseparable and as one in politics, up to We remained extremely friendly even in the aftermath of the changed political circumstances and through our differences. He created a new era in the film arena. Few had made the film world theirs as he did and conquered it the way he did. He has the honour of making his party, the ADMK he founded inrise to power in a short span of time.
There is none who would not praise his resolute will to serve tirelessly—even through his two-three years of illness—during the ten years he served as Chief Minister.
The Governor has appealed for prayers for you and your health! Those belonging to different beliefs are offering prayers for you to get well and regain your former health!
Your party men — who look up to your leadership, frontline leaders — are going to various temples offering prayers to see you back like before! Therefore I am someone who considers that begging with open arms before the gods for a boon is fruitless.
That is my ideal! Just because that is my faith, I would not fault the prayers that others are carrying out for you. If the faith in their prayers were to bear fruit — if you were to get well and walk like before — the happiness that I would experience will not be any less to the ones offering prayers Even now I have not engaged in such divine prayer.
Periyar and Anna have raised me so. But my sweet friend! Let those prayers that are carried out for you bear fruit! My affectionate old time friend! Come back with your smiling face to see us! We have no permission to see you!
It does not matter; it is enough if you get well and come to see us! In that sense if needed I too will pray; amidst the differences to carry out warm conversations wish you a speedy recovery!
Like the fog that disperses with the rays of the sun, let your illness disperse! Ever your friend Mu. The two had met on the sets of Rajakumari Princess, However, the movement was in its early stages and its future remained uncertain in an ubiquitous Congress era.
He would not have guessed that he would one day become its torchbearer and a leader. The man who should be credited for converting him is Kalaignar Karunanidhi, only 22 years old, seven years younger than him.