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Celebrating 50 years of Karunanidhi the politician

DMK wants to pay fulsome tribute to Karunanidhi with a string of events, that will also involve APJ Abdul Kalam.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2007 14:49 IST

The DMK is all set to celebrate 50 years in electoral politics of one of India's most veteran politicians: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

One of the few who have never personally lost an election, the DMK wants to pay fulsome tribute to Karunanidhi with a string of events that will also involve President APJ Abdul Kalam and Congress president Sonia Gandhi among others.

The DMK has constituted a committee to oversee the celebrations, headed by state Finance Minister K Anbazhagan, a contemporary and long-time colleague of the 83-year-old leader.

Kalam will be urged to address the Tamil Nadu assembly and felicitate Karunanidhi on the floor of the house in the second week of May, it is learnt.

Besides Gandhi, the committee will also invite former prime minister VP Singh, communist leaders Prakash Karat and AB Bhardan to address a public meeting in Chennai May 10.

Literary meets and seminars on Karunanidhi's political contribution will also be recognized.

A propaganda committee member of Dravida Kazhagam when the late CN Annadurai founded the DMK in 1949, Karunanidhi can be called a founding father of the DMK. He has been elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly for 50 years now.

In the process, Karunanidhi has literally become a phenomenon that has taken the party to Fort St George the seat of power in Tamil Nadu, decade after decade, and given DMK numerous seats in successive Lok Sabha elections.

Karunanidhi made his electoral debut in 1957, representing Kulithalai in Karur district of Tamil Nadu in the assembly. He was re-elected from Thanjavur in 1962.

Then he decided that Chennai was the place to be in, if he was to be center stage of Dravidian politics. He contested from Saidapet in 1967. That was the year the DMK wrested power from the Congress and began to rule Tamil Nadu for the first time.

That does not mean Karunanidhi has forgotten his native village Tirukkuvalai, in Nagappatinam district, about 550 km south of Chennai.

On Jan 13, a chief minister for the fifth time, Karunanidhi paid a visit to his ancestral house in Tirukkuvalai.

It has been converted into a library and named after his parents Anjuham and Muthuvelar. He spent nearly an hour looking at the pictures on the walls after garlanding his mother's statue, and talking to the villagers. He also visited his mother's internment site.

This was the second time Karunanidhi was visiting Tirukkuvalai, after assuming office in May 2006.

Wanting to celebrate the 'golden jubilee' of Karunanidhi, the DMK on Thursday announced a series of wide-ranging programmes to mark its president's nearly 50 years in the state assembly.

In the house, the chief minister announced that a 2,000 MW capacity thermal power station would be set up in Tirukkuvalai village. It is expected to provide jobs to 15,000 people.

A special harbour to import coal for the power plant will also be set up on the Nagappatinam coast nearby. It is expected to use 40 million tonnes of coal every year.

This harbour will be independent of the existing Nagapattinam harbour and help provide jobs on the tsunami-hit coast.

Karunanidhi was elected for the fourth time to the assembly in 1971, from Anna Nagar constituency in Chennai, and again in 1977 and 1980.

In 1983, he resigned from the assembly and did not contest the 1984 assembly polls. However, he returned to the assembly from Chennai Harbour in 1989 and 1991.

He again resigned his membership and contested the Chepuak seat in 1996, 2001 and 2006.

Five decades after he began contesting elections, Karunanidhi is a larger than life figure in Indian politics, respected both for his administrative abilities and political acumen.