CHENNAI: It was nothing but respect and passion they had for their leader M Karunanidhi that spurred a group of five farmers from Vellore to travel over 200 km overnight by two-wheelers to have a glimpse of DMK patriarch’s face for the last time.
Karunakaran, Raghupathi, Dayalan, Krishnamurthy and Nehru, paddy farmers from Kuppadichatham village in Arcot taluk, left home on Tuesday evening minutes after they heard the news about the leader’s death.
“At short notice, we couldn’t get bus or train. So we decided to leave for Chennai by two bikes,” said Raghupathi.
Farmers are the largest section of people who benefited the most from the schemes launched by Karunanidhi whenever he was in power.
“He gave us free electricity, and waived off more than `100 crore worth farm loans. We are forever indebted to Kalaignar. Tamil Nadu will never see such a leader again,” added Dayalan.
Clad in crisp white shirts, they had a photo of the DMK leader neatly tucked in all of their pockets. “Before the High Court verdict, we decided we won’t leave until Kalaignar gets the burial he deserves on the Marina Beach next to Anna,” said Krishnamurthy.
The uzhavar sandhai, launched in 1999, was one of the most popular projects launched by the Karunanidhi government aimed to benefit farmers and rural voters.