Despite the multiple electoral wins, did you know that the only time Karunanidhi did not contest was in the 1984 assembly elections?

Dravidian Chronicles 1984- The year Karunanidhi skipped an election
news Dravidian Chronicles Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - 18:24

The News Minute brings you the Dravidian Chronicles, a collection of narratives on the margins of the 2016 election spotlight. Here we chronicle smaller, subtler shifts that catalyse and metamorphose the grand narratives of the electoral juggernaut.

Pushing 92, he’s one of the oldest active politicians in India. He’s also a five-time Chief Minister. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam patriarch Muthuval Karunanidhi, in his 59-year long career has never tasted defeat, winning every time he has contested. Under his leadership, the party has suffered a number of defeats including remaining out of power for 12 successive years when his archrival MGR was Chief Minister. But on the 12 occasions he has contested as an MLA, from his electoral debut in 1957 up until 2011, Karunanidhi has been given the vote of confidence by the people in his constituency.

Despite the multiple electoral wins, did you know that the only time Karunanidhi did not contest was in the 1984 assembly elections?

The DMK president chose to give the polls a miss, having been elected as a member of the legislative council in April 1984. Karunanidhi together with K. Anbhazhagan had resigned from their MLA posts a year earlier, to express solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils following the riots in the island-nation.

This picture was taken on 3.10.1969; It shows the then Governor Sardar Ujjal Singh and Karunanidhi receiving Indira Gandhi at the Meenambakkam airport.

In hindsight, sitting out of the 1984 Assembly Elections may have also been a tactical move, on Karunanidhi’s part. These elections saw the AIADMK’s MGR re-elected Chief Minister despite convalescing from a kidney transplant at a New York hospital, all through the party’s poll campaign. The year 1984 also saw the AIADMK’s poll partner, Congress win a significant sympathy wave following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.  In sitting out, Karunanidhi escaped the embarrassment of having to lose an assembly election since MGR’s victory was a foregone conclusion.

Also read: 

How Biju Patnaik nearly pulled off a DMK and AIADMK merger

Indira Gandhi never forgave MGR for 1977

Dravidian Chronicles: TN’s first polls saw a jailed communist elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly

Dravidian Chronicles: MGR's first electoral victory was from a hospital bed


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