The DMK’s headquarter in Chennai was completely deserted on Tuesday, save for a small contingent of policeman standing guard at its locked gates, as Tamil Nadu comes to grip with the loss of one of its most powerful leaders, Jayalalithaa.
Despite being a bitter rival of DMK patriarch Muthuvel Karunanidhi, whose ambitions to become chief minister were thwarted by the 68-year-old’s stunning victory in the 2016 assembly elections, the DMK has pledged its support and offered its commiserations following Jayalalithaa’s death.
Karunanidhi who has been in hospital for a week for an allergy, issued a statement on Tuesday offering his condolences.
His son and heir, MK Stalin, was more strident in his praise of the late CM, saying that her demise was “an irreparable loss to the people of Tamil Nadu.”
The question now remains what the DMK will do following the immediate aftermath of Jayalalithaa’s death, and whether it will resume its traditional combative stance towards the AIADMK, whose political dominance in the state seems shaky with her passing.
“We want to bury our acrimonious past, and move forward to a different equation now,” says C Saravanan, senior party leader and DMK spokesman. “O Pannerselvam as a leader cannot be compared to Jayalalithaa, but politics can wait while the state mourns her.”