Though Karunanidhi’s health prevents him meeting supporters, many turned up with the hope of at least getting a glimpse of him.

Despite Stalins request Karunanidhi loyalists turn up to see their leader on his 94th bday
news Birthday Saturday, June 03, 2017 - 12:31

Advancing age and prolonged illness may have rendered it virtually impossible for DMK supremo Karunanidhi to speak to his supporters or even step out of his house to be seen by them on the occasion of his 94th birthday and the diamond jubilee of his entry into the TN legislature. The DMK may even have advised its cadres and sympathisers not to visit the leader’s residence on Saturday.

But none of that could tamp down on the enthusiasm of the leader’s most enthusiastic supporters who streamed in to the Chennai from many of the interior districts across the state.

Like Sasi, a 30-year-old supporter from Salem, who has been standing by the compound wall of Karunanidhi’s residence since 8am, says, “I know he won't come out and his health won't allow it. But I'm hoping to at least get a glimpse. He is 94 years old, but still the guiding light of the DMK.”

Many of the supporters assembled here said that they had come despite the suggestion from DMK Working President Stalin that the best gift they could give Karunanidhi was to not visit the residence.

55-year-old Parvathy, from Coimbatore, said that she had come to Chennai a day in advance, with around 100 others to celebrate Karunanidhi’s birthday. “Stalin told us all not to come but what does he know? Our heart beats only to see Karunanidhi.”

What drew many people to Chennai from their home districts were often memories of aid and government efforts that had personally impacted their lives. Kamalaveni (51) from Pollachi district remembered the help she and others had received from Karunanidhi when they were in need of housing. “Karunanidhi got us 30 houses in Pollachi. We were in a very bad situation then. Seven people have come from there. He has done so much for us. We come every month and meet Stalin and tell him all our problems," she said.

Even as they came to celebrate another birthday of their leader, however, the hearts of these supporters were divided on how Karunanidhi’s  health and his ability to continue his political work.

Some expressed pain at seeing how much their tallest leader had been affected by illness and stated that the hopes of the DMK now lay in Stalin’s hands.

Fathima Bibi, a 55-year-old supporter from Pudhukottai, who broke down into tears as she spoke, said, “It is so difficult to see our Thalaivar this way. A man who could give fiery speeches is not able to come see us now. Our hopes are pinned on Stalin now. He has the same administrative abilities as Karunanidhi. In today's political scenario the DMK is more relevant than ever before. The aim of the party is to have a secular government in the future.”

Others like Parvathy, however, remained jubilant about his recovery and confident that he would soon return to the leader of old and take back the state.

“Even today, if elections are held in Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi will become the Chief Minister. This illness is a temporary setback,” she said confidently. 

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