DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s son M K Stalin issued an advisory late Sunday night asking party cadre to remain calm as his father’s fragile health condition continues to draw wave upon wave of DMK supporters to the gates of Kauvery Hospital in Chennai’s upmarket Mylapore neighbourhood, where the 94-year-old DMK leader is being treated.
Karunanidhi, 94, is a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu and now battling a prolonged spell of ill-health; a urinary tract infection and fever landed the DMK president in hospital late last week.
Chaotic scenes played out at the busy intersection barely a few minute’s walk from both late J Jayalalithaa’s residence and the Karunanidhi family properties in the same area. Karunanidhi was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on Saturday night.
On Sunday night, Kauvery Hospital released a four line health bulletin with a time stamp of 9:50 pm saying Karunanidhi's vital signs are normalising after a “transient setback”: “There was a transient setback in the clinical condition of Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, DMK President and Former CM of Tamil Nadu. With active medical support, his vital signs are normalising. He continues to be closely monitored and treated by panel of expert doctors”, said the ‘press release’ signed by Dr. Aravindan Selvaraj, executive director of Kauvery Hospital.
As the crowd pressure mounts in an already congested thoroughfare, police presence has been taken up several levels. Scenes of lathi charge and general confusion lingered long into the night before Stalin appealed for calm.
Die-hard fans of Karunanidhi were heard repeating the same complaints as when former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was hospitalised in late 2016: “For the past 3 days we've been waiting here. We didn't have food or water. We don't know what's happening to our Thaliavar. Will somebody tell us? What's the harm in giving us details? We're his supporters and want to know”.
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2018
DMK leaders MK Stalin, MK Alagiri, Durai Murugan, Kanimozhi, TR Baalu and TKS Elangovan have been in and out of the hospital even as a steady stream of politcos have arrived to enquire about Karunanidhi’s health.
From 2016, when Jayalalithaa died in Chennai's Apollo Hospital after a dramatic series of events and a prolonged hospitalisation, politics in Tamil Nadu has been in a persistent funk. After Jayalalithaa’s death, the AIADMK is dealing with relentless internal strife and barely managing to retain its hold on power, the DMK lies in wait for every opportunity for a return to its glory days in the state while new players, sensing a golden opportunity in the unexpected vaccum, are circling overhead.
With Jayalalithaa gone in 2016, Karunanidhi is the last of the political greats of Tamil Nadu who survives. 'Kalaingar', as Karunanidhi is fondly known, became TN chief minister for the first time in 1969 and for the fifth time in 2006. In his best years, Karunanidhi rose to become the most celebrated screenwriter in the Tamil film industry, using the cinematic medium to deliver his political ideas to the masses. The 1952 box office hit 'Parasakthi', in particular, was a turning point both in Tamil cinema and for Karunanidhi, injecting the ideology of the Dravidian movement into the big screen and becoming the platform for two other greats of Tamil cinema - Sivaji Ganesan and SS Rajendran. Until recently, Karunanidhi continued to write searing political prose until he became too ill to continue.
Updated Date: Jul 30, 2018 15:01 PM