Vikravandi MLA Pugazhenthi’s death brings back memories of 1999 LS polls

“As long as the man named Karunanidhi lives on this land, all the people can live as fellow human beings without caste and religious differences,” he had said.
Anbil Poyyamozhi died hours after a public meet during 1999 LS polls
Anbil Poyyamozhi died hours after a public meet during 1999 LS polls Photo | Express

CHENNAI: The untimely demise of Vikravandi MLA N Pugazhenthi, who died after falling ill at the public meeting for the Lok Sabha election attended by Chief Minister MK Stalin near Villupuram on Friday, brings back memories of a similar tragic incident from the past.

It was around 25 years back, on August 29, 1999, that former DMK MLA Anbil Poyyamozhi passed away, hours after attending a public meeting for the Lok Sabha election in the presence of then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Poyyamozhi, a prominent DMK leader and father of present school education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, had represented the Tiruchy-2 assembly constituency from 1996 to 1999. He was a close associate of Stalin.

The unfortunate incident occurred after the meeting held on August 28 in Tiruchy, where Karunanidhi and Stalin were campaigning for BJP candidate Rangarajan Kumaramangalam. Back then, DMK was in alliance with BJP as part of NDA.

In his speech at the meeting, Poyyamozhi heaped praises on Karunanidhi for protecting social harmony and welfare of the underprivileged castes. “As long as the man named Karunanidhi lives on this land, all the people can live as fellow human beings without caste and religious differences,” he had said.

His last public speech was in reply to criticism levelled against the DMK for aligning with the saffron party for the first time. While DMK continues to voice against casteism and communalism, BJP is now an arch nemesis.

Shortly after the public meeting, Poyyamozhi suffered cardiac arrest and died in the early hours of August 29. Both Karunanidhi and Stalin bid a tearful farewell with the party’s second-rung leaders finding it difficult to console them. Stalin in particular was deeply moved.

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