CHENNAI: Days after AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa showered praise on her former Odisha counterpart Biju Patnaik, DMK President M Karunanidhi today recalled the late leader's efforts for the merger of the two Dravidian parties in 1979 and said the attempt failed due to AIADMK.
Writing in party mouthpiece 'Murasoli,' he recalled a meeting between him and Patnaik in 1979 and said AIADMK founder late M G Ramachandran had okayed the merger formula where the unified party would be named DMK and the AIADMK flag retained.
88-year old Karunanidhi said that in a private meeting he had with Ramachandran, the latter told him that the general councils of the respective parties shall meet on the same day in different places to decide about the merger.
However, at a public meeting at Vellore the very next day, Ramachandran not only made no mention of the proposed merger, but the DMK came under attack from his Ministers in his presence, Karunanidhi said.
"It is not known what happened between the interaction (between him and MGR) and the Vellore public meeting. After that, the merger proposal did not materalise," he said adding he had conveyed to Patnaik that the remarks made by Ramachandran and AIADMK Ministers at Vellore did not ensure conducive atmosphere for a merger.
He also said C Stephen, a close confidant of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, had contacted senior DMK leader 'Murasoli' Maran for a tie-up between the two parties.
The DMK had earlier supported Gandhi's initiatives such as nationalisation of banks besides backing her nominee V V Giri for President post before aligning with Congress, he said.
"Despite the DMK's opposition to Emergency in 1975, dissolution of (his) government in 1976, and the difficulties faced due to MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act under which Emergency-era arrests of leaders were made), she (Gandhi) inviting me to Delhi to discuss about alliance in 1980-- is it not a big turning point in politics," he said.
Jayalalithaa, who held parleys with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik here on May 11, had described his father Biju as a "father figure."