CHENNAI: The DMK on Tuesday lost out on an opportunity to use the birthday of its patriarch M Karunanidhi as a pick-me-up to galvanise the party rank and file. The enthusiasm of cadre who turned up from different parts of the State to wish their leader was hardly apparent at an atypically soft speech by Karunanidhi in the evening. The veteran leader waved a white flag at the media, and told media houses and newspersons that the DMK was not against them.
Having turned 90, the strain of the day seemed to have taken a toll on Karunanidhi by the evening. In a voice that was raspier than usual, the DMK chief appealed to news media outlets to extend their support to his party.
“This is not a threat or a word of caution, but a gentle reminder that there is no enmity between us (DMK) and journalists,” said Karunanidhi. “You are supporting anybody who raises a voice against us. I can only warn you that this is a path that will end in you having lost your freedom,” he added.
Karunanidhi then talked around this point, saying, “I am not saying it is the media that is the reason for our defeat, or that newspapers will destroy the DMK. I am not pleading with you or talking down at you. I am only telling you in a friendly manner so journalists can correct themselves. I urge all media to support us.”
By the time Karunanidhi finished this portion of the speech, only a small number of people apart from the party functionaries in the front rows remained. He also asked party cadre to use the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections as a stepping stone to future success.
Karunanidhi also hinted that the party would make some big announcements in the days to come. He said the decisions and deliberations had been made at the meeting of the high level strategy committee of the party on Monday, and that the announcement had been deferred in view of the birthday celebration.
Karunanidhi had followed his usual practice of paying homage at the samadhis of C N Annadurai and ‘Periyar’ E V Ramasamy Naicker in the morning, before receiving cadre and their gifts at the party head quarters.
The turnout was enthusiastic, with party faithful bringing the nonagenarian a variety of gifts.