While the AIADMK government was creating one hurdle after another for the burial of former Chief Minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi near the Anna Samadhi in Chennai, the party’s members in a village in Coimbatore displayed great magnanimity as they paid respects to the rival leader.
Setting their rivalry aside, the Kallimadai AIADMK members put up a poster of the DMK patriarch at a party office, garlanded it and wore black shirts to mourn the loss.
The DMK chief passed away at the age of 94 after a prolonged illness at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai on August 7. He had been admitted to the hospital on July 28 after his blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels. Following his death, the leader’s family and the DMK requested the government that his mortal remains be buried at the spot allocated in Marina beach. Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami heard them patiently but the request was denied and they were offered a space at Gandhi Mandapam instead.
The move was seen as political vindictiveness by the DMK who accused the AIADMK of being petty. The matter was finally taken to court, where a bench comprising acting Chief Justice HG Ramesh and SS Sundar ordered that a spot at Marina be allocated for the former Chief Minister as requested. The DMK proclaimed that this was a loss of face for the AIADMK and that ‘Kalaignar had won even in death’.
In the MGR Ilaignar Ani office in Kallimadai, however, the ground level members of the AIADMK proved that they were above petty politics and keen on honouring the ideological revolution that the Dravidian leader led.
VC Arukutty, an AIADMK MLA from Coimbatore district, says that he sees nothing wrong in this show of respect from the party cadre.
“We are people who left Kalaignar’s party along with our thalaivar MGR. But that does not mean we do not grieve his loss. It is just that we belong to a different party now and are bound by its rules and therefore cannot express exactly how we feel,” he explains.
And what about refusing the DMK leader a burial spot at Marina?
“This was because of the 5 cases filed against Amma’s samadhi. Now that the legalities are out of the way, we didn’t even go to a higher court over the matter. We were very emotional when the casket was being lowered. We may belong to a different party but are human too.”