The circular also instructs party cadre not to greet Vaiko with a shawl anymore, and to donate money instead.

Cadres to pay minimum Rs 100 for selfie with Vaiko MDMKs new fundraising driveFacebook/Vaiko
news Politics Thursday, August 08, 2019 - 15:38

Vaiko’s MDMK seems to be in a desperate fund crunch. The leader, who was recently in the news for his fiery Rajya Sabha speech on the Kashmir issue, has decided to monetise the only ‘brand’ that the party has currently – Vaiko’s face. MDMK in a circular has told its party functionaries that they will have to donate a minimum of Rs 100 to the party if they want a photo with Vaiko. Further, they’ve been asked not to waste money on shawls – and donate money to the party instead.

“For the attention of all party functionary friends, those wishing to take a photograph with the Party’s General Secretary will have to donate a minimum of Rs 100 to the party before doing so,” the circular issued by MDMK said.

"The party is always facing a shortage of funds,” MDMK leader Nanmaran told TNM. “In fact, this isn't the first time such a circular has been issued," he added, however he couldn’t recall the previous such instances. The circular also urged those who aren’t lifetime members to sign up by August 31.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) was established by Vaiko in 1994. Currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Vaiko’s party is currently aligned with the Congress-DMK alliance in the state. However, despite his alliance with the Congress, he lashed out at the party in Rajya Sabha during the Kashmir debate last week: "I bow my head to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru but the promise was not kept about the plebiscite. Here what has happened further? You said individuality will be protected by article 370 and 35 (A)," he said. "All these years, you killed democracy, Congress party. When Farooq Abdullah was having tea in the morning, he came to know his government was dismissed. I told my friend Farooq Abdullah, 'you forget the advice given by your great father Sheikh Abdullah'. When he took me to meet him in 1980, Sheikh Abdullah told me, my young friend from Tamil Nadu don't forget, there is no place in the dictionary of Indian political history for friendship or for gratitude in Congress party.”

A supporter of LTTE, Vaiko was convicted in a sedition case dating back to 2009. In July this year, a Special Court sentenced him to one year in jail and Rs 10,000 fine in the case. In a book launch event conducted in Raja Annamalai mandram in Chennai in 2009, he had spoken on the topic ‘Eezhathil nadappathenna’ (what is happening in Eelam). In his speech, he had warned that if India wants to remain a single, unified country, the war against LTTE in Sri Lanka must be stopped.

Two weeks later, Madras High Court suspended Vaiko’s one year jail term.

Vaiko had served as DMK Rajya Sabha MP for 18 years between 1978 and 1996.  Thereafter, he was elected as Lok Sabha MP from Sivakasi in 1998 and in 1999. After the July 18 Rajya Sabha election, the veteran politician made his comeback into the house after 23 years.

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