MDMK leader Vaiko who was attacked by DMK cadres Saturday night outside the Kauvery hospital when he had gone to see ailing DMK chief Muthuvel Karunanidhi, said the incident was “planned.”
“I had told DMK MP Kanimozhi that I was coming, though I was told it wouldn’t be possible to speak to Karunanidhi,” a visibly emotional Vaiko told reporters Sunday. “Everyone there knew that I was coming. It wasn’t a spontaneous reaction of the cadre. They were instigated and around 50 men were brought to attack me. My car was attacked with stones and slippers.”
When Vaiko attempted to enter Kauvery hospital, DMK cadres blocked his way, hurling abuse and assorted footwear at his car.
Cries of “traitor” were also heard. Vaiko eventually had to leave without seeing Karunanidhi.
“A true DMK cadre will not act in this way. This was clearly done on instructions from somewhere else,” Vaiko said, adding that several members of Karunanidhi’s family had already called him to express their displeasure at the attack.
DMK treasurer and Karunanidhi’s heir apparent MK Stalin issued a stern warning to the cadres, condemning the attack. “We must oppose them (opponents) democratically. I appeal to the cadre to maintain calm,” the 63-year-old wrote in a Facebook post, stressing that violence could not be used.
Vaiko formed the MDMK in 1993 after Karunanidhi expelled him from the party for what many believe was a ploy to ensure that Stalin would be groomed as the next leader.
Despite their rancorous past, Vaiko expressed a great deal of affection for the ailing nonagenarian, who has been in hospital since December 15.
“For 29 years, I grew under his shadow. Kalaignar cared for me. I have defended him a lot in my life. I wish him a speedy recovery. I am saying all this because everyone must know what happened,” Vaiko said.
Vaiko was not the only visitor that the former chief minister had on Saturday. In a rare move that may hint at the end of the animosity which has defined Tamil politics for more than two decades, senior AIADMK leaders M Thambidurai and D Jayakumar visited Kauvery hospital to enquire about the DMK patriarch’s health.
The move is significant, given the bitter hatred between the 93-year-old and his rival, the late J Jayalalithaa. Though Karunanidhi had a more amicable relationship with her predecessor, MG Ramachandran, the two leaders never visited or spoke each other in public, an attitude that was adopted by members of their respective parties.