Indira’s ban threat scared Karunanidhi: Cables
Top DMK leaders feared that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was planning to ban the Dravidian party after Karunanidhi Ministry was dismissed by in January 1976 during Emergency, according to Kissinger era US declassified cables released by Wikileaks.
The DMK president, whose son M K Stalin and colleagues were jailed under the draconian Maintenance of Internal Securities Act (MISA), had tried to convince Indira Gandhi that his party would not disrupt law and order in Tamil Nadu.
“We have been informed by both DMK and ADMK (later AIADMK) that the top DMK leaders now fear that Mrs Gandhi is about to ban the DMK on the pretext that it is cooperating with and encouraging the CPM to conduct agitations in Tamil Nadu,” the cable titled ‘DMK Fears Ban and Tries To Forestall It’, dated February 19, 1976, sent by an American diplomat in India reads.
The cable records that the threat of banning the DMK came when there was mounting pressure from DMK leaders and workers that Karunanidhi step down from the presidentship of the party to save it from disintegration. “An ADMK source tells us that former DMK Minister S Ramachandran, who publicly initiated this move, is working closely with DMK general secretary V R Nedunchezhian to convene the general council of the DMK to decide this issue. He stated that a majority in the general council support the removal of Karunanidhi.”
However, as senior leader Anbazhagan and Nedunchezhian remained with Karunanidhi, the attempt to dislodge him never fructified.
Karunanidhi reportedly took an initiative to meet the then Union Minister of State for Home Om Mehta when the latter was in Chennai with Indira Gandhi.
“Karunanidhi and several other leaders met on February 17 to discuss how to save the party from the grave threat to its continued legal operation. They decided to send Rajaram to Delhi to try to meet Mrs Gandhi and assure her that the DMK has no intention of encouraging others to violence or agitation,” the cable said.