Battling rumours on the health of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi is nothing new to the party.
This has happened a number of times in the recent past. Each occasion had invariably led to a scathing attack by the Dravidian veteran on “miscreants.”
On Wednesday though, there was a complete change in the way the DMK dealt with the rumours, with social media turning out to be its biggest weapon.
News about the alleged “ill-health” of Karunanidhi began spreading on Tuesday night and gained momentum when the city woke up on Wednesday.
Twitter was awash with people raising questions on whether the news was true.
Rumour-mongers had a field day with text messages on the matter spreading like wildfire.
DMK leaders recalled a similar rumour about the DMK chief’s health on December 26, 2004 — the day of the tsunami.
“The news channels were fully occupied with tsunami updates. We found it very hard to press them for space in the bulletin. The rumour subsided only the next day after newspapers carried Thalaivar’s comments,” said a party MLA.
On Wednesday though, the game was different. Taking advantage of Facebook and Twitter, the party put out pictures of a smiling Karunanidhi reaching Anna Arivalayam in the morning.
Even before that, messages were put out exhorting people not to believe the false news. “More than in the past, we were able to quell the flow of false news quickly in the morning. This is the power of the social media,” J Anbazhagan, party MLA, told Express.
The pictures, in fact, received hundreds of comments and likes and many retweets on Twitter, virtually clearing the air by early afternoon.