The crowds that turned out at the Anna Arivalayam to celebrate DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s 89th birthday were but a fraction of the throng that once collected when the DMK was in power. Even the public meeting held at KK Nagar saw at least half the chairs empty. If a full turnout of crowds were bad enough, not all the veteran leader’s children were present at either gathering. MK Alagiri and daughter K Kanimozhi were conspicuously absent.
Topline DMK leaders who were present however heaped praise on the octogenarian. Apart from attacking arch rival J Jayalalithaa at every turn possible, they gave Karunanidhi much credit, even claiming that not a single President or Prime Minister had taken office without visiting Karunanidhi. The veteran leader himself took on a tone of muted rhetoric, falling back on the tried and tested line of self respect. “The DMK is not a party that exists only to win elections,” said Karunanidhi. “It is a party that exists to fight for the self respect of the people. Our battles will continue even without elections,” he added.
Claiming that the DMK had always fought for the creation of Eelam, Karunanidhi said leaders of the party would discuss a strategy to achieve the goal of Eelam.