Politician of 6 decades and more: Lesser known facts about Karunanidhi

A key pole around which the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu flourished, Karunanidhi strode the state’s political stage like a colossus for nearly six decades

india Updated: Aug 14, 2018 08:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
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**FILE** New Delhi: A file picture of DMK chief M Karunanidhi who passed away on Tuesday, Aug 7, 2018, after a prolonged illness, at a Chennai hospital where he was admitted for some days. He was 94. (PTI Photo) (STORY TAR34, TAR35, LND35, KYD35) (PTI8_7_2018_000235A)(PTI)

Muthuvel Karunanidhi died on Tuesday at the age of 94 after striding the political stage of Tamil Nadu like a colossus for nearly six decades, personally undefeated in any election he contested, whatever be the fortunes of the DMK.

He was elected 13 times to the Tamil Nadu legislature and was chief minister five times.

PERSONAL LIFE
M KARUNANIDHI WAS BORN AS DHAKSHINAMOORTHY IN NAGAPATTINAM DISTRICT’S THIRUKKUVALAI IN 1924
The screenwriter
A school dropout, he began his career as a screenwriter and also wrote plays. His first film, Rajakumaari, gained him popularity
Literary work
Besides scripts, Karunanidhi also wrote poems and stories, famous for their historical content and social messages
The editor
He started a newspaper, Murasoli, in 1942 to spread information about the Dravidian movement. It is the DMK’s mouthpiece
Popular figure
He developed a personal rapport with several national leaders, going beyond his politics
POLITICAL CAREER
KARUNANIDHI WAS A FOUNDER MEMBER OF THE DMK IN 1949. HE CONTESTED 13 ELECTIONS AND WON ALL
1938
Inspired by Dravidian leader Pattukkottai Azhagiri, he starts his political journey
1957
Aged 33, he is elected as an MLA for the first time from Kulithalai constituency
1969
He becomes the Tamil Nadu CM, and the DMK chief later that year
2001
Arrested over a case of corruption
2016
His health deteriorates; he largely retreats from politics
2018
Karunanidhi enters his 50th year as the chief of the DMK on July 27
FAMILY TREE
Here’s a look at members of Karunanidhi’s family
  • Four years after Padmavathi, his first wife, died in 1944, Karunanidhi married Dayalu Ammal. He had a son with his first wife. Muthu, an actor, singer and politician, was groomed by Karunanidhi to be his successor several years ago to sideline MG Ramachandran, who was then with the DMK. He, however, defected to the AIADMK
  • With Dayalu Ammal, he has four children. Of them, his two sons – MK Stalin and MK Alagiri – have been feuding for years, locked in a tussle to be Karunanidhi’s political heir. Alagiri was expelled from the DMK in 2014 for alleged anti-party activities
  • In the 1960s, Karunanidhi met Rajathi Ammal and was said to have ‘married’ her as per a DMK tradition wherein party elders blessed the couple. She is the mother of the DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi
ILLUSTRIOUS JOURNEY
He started his public life at the age of 14 after he was inspired by the ideologies of EV Ramasamy (also known as Periyar), Dravida Kazhagam’s (DK) founder
M Karunanidhi in his younger days
With former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Sharing the stage with Superstar Rajinikanth at an event.

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 11:25 IST