Arumugam was DMK’s Vanniyar face

He served as Agriculture Minister when the DMK government was elected in 1996 and 2006, apart from his 1990-91 stint with the same portfolio.

Published: 24th November 2012 09:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2012 09:00 AM   |  A+A-

Veerapandi S Arumugam has for decades been the face of the DMK in the Salem region. He held the Veerapandi Assembly seat with a vise-like grip, ironically suffering his biggest loss there in the last election he contested.

Inspired by the writings and speeches of the late Chief Minister and DMK founder C N Annadurai and party chief M Karunanidhi, Arumugam plunged into politics when he was 14.

He served as Agriculture Minister when the DMK government was elected in 1996 and 2006, apart from his 1990-91 stint with the same portfolio. His first stint in the Cabinet was in the short-lived DMK government between 1989 and 1990, reaping the reward for not defecting to the much more popular AIADMK, as Minister for Rural development and Local Administration.

Arumugam was among the few non-founding leaders in the DMK, who enjoyed unquestioned respect and stature, holding the key to a section of the voters of the Vanniyar community, to which he belonged.

He also earned praise for courting arrest for the party’s causes. Cause or not, Arumugam, however, was no stranger to controversy and legal battles. His rap sheet ranged from murder charges to the persistent allegations of grabbing prime lands in and around Salem.

He has had an especially tough time ever since he comprehensively lost his seat in his party’s rout in the 2011 Assembly elections.

With his health deteriorating, Arumugam spent a few days at Poolavari, the village of his birth. He was taken to Sri Ramachandra Medical College Hospital in Porur with complaints of breathlessness on November 17. He was shifted to the ICU on November 20, where he passed away.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tamil Nadu news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp