R.M. Veerappan on the other hand sees Jayalalithaa as the manipulator and oppressor in that relationship. He recounts, ‘The ’71 Assembly election was won because during the last stage I saw to it that MGR led the campaign though Karunanidhi was reluctant. At the victory celebration, the cadres came with two garlands – one for Karunanidhi and another for MGR. Our man is missing! He has left for Nepal with this lady, dressed as a Muslim. He comes back, and she prompts him to ask for a ministerial berth that Karunanidhi has not cared to give him. A man who is a kingmaker, why should he stoop to that level? Karunanidhi said, “You leave films and then come.” Till then MGR never had a desire to hold any political power or offices. She provoked this enmity between MGR and Karunanidhi so that she could spend more time with him.’
Veerappan’s view seems rather far-fetched – MGR was in his fifties, too old to be influenced by someone less than half his age. And the split in the DMK was bound to happen. MGR’s popularity was growing by leaps and bounds, and Karunanidhi felt eclipsed and threatened, even though it was MGR who had got him the chief minister’s post after Annadurai’s death. After the 1971 elections MGR had also become a member of the Legislative Assembly, besides being the treasurer of the DMK. And he was prone to ask too many uncomfortable questions in public. Karunanidhi expelled him from the party for indiscipline.
One week after his expulsion, on 18 October 1972, MGR announced the formation of a new political party – Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Excerpted with the permission of Juggernaut Books from Amma: Jayalalithaa’s Journey from Movie Star to Political Queen by Vaasanthi exclusively available on the Juggernaut app