When it comes to star status in DMK hierarchy, A Raja comes nowhere near party boss M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi. Senior DMK leaders were noticeably absent when the beleaguered former Union Telecom Minister touched down in Chennai for the first time in 15 months, though close to 3,000 DMK supporters were present to accord him a grand reception. This was in stark contrast to Kanimozhi’s return from Delhi last December, when a host of party leaders, including Karunanidhi himself, were present at the airport to welcome her.
For almost an hour prior to 5.30 pm, when Raja’s Jet Airways flight landed, party workers were speculating as to which all leaders would be coming to welcome him - Dayanidhi Maran and TR Baalu were hot favourites - but it was not to be. Most of the cadre gathered there made a festival out of the occasion, with loud drums, mass hysteria and scores of party shawls being tossed about.
Once Raja came out of the airport through the regular arrival gate, the police barricades did little to contain the overjoyed DMK men. Raja looked lean, yet happy to be back and obliged the crowd by greeting as many of them as he possibly could, before he was whisked off to his car. Owing to a long line of cars followed him carrying DMK cadre, traffic along the GST road, Kathipara flyover and Anna Salai remained clogged.