On January 5, Karunanidhi went to Chepauk in Chennai to lead a protest by DMK against the Tamil Nadu government for their handling of the December deluge, particularly criticising them for the opening of the sluice gates at Chemberambakkam on December 1. When he returned from the meet, sources say, Karunanidhi was a changed man.
Witnessing the 7,000-strong crowd at the protest, which was responding well to him, seems to have changed Karunanidhiâ€™s mood instantly. Multiple sources within the party have confirmed to The News Minute that since that day, the grand old man of TN politics has been on a roll.
Little surprise then, that at 92-years of age and wheel-chair bound, Karunanidhi appeared in court for the defamation case filed against him at a Chennai court on Monday, making for the exact kind of optics that is required at this stage for his party.
What got him reportedly excited about the January 5 event was also the fact that he was at the front and centre of the rally. He had taken the lead on the issue of TN floods and asked for the rally to be held. So he saw the massive crowds as a direct response to his call. It is perhaps then that he realized that there is an opportunity to defeat Jayalalithaa in the upcoming polls.
Many also say that he had been on the ball since mid-2015, when he made the announcement on prohibition, forcing the Jayalalithaa government to take a stand on the issue. But sources close to him say that his mood has significantly changed since January 5.
On January 25, when the DMK will celebrate Veera Vanakkam Naal to commemorate those who died in the anti-Hindi agitation in 1960s, Karunanidhi has decided to visit Thiruvarur, his constituency. In the past few years, this and other such events have been held in DMK bastions in or near Chennai. But for him, to take the effort to go all the way to Thiruvarur for the event means he is stepping on the gas. It also indicates that he might be contesting from the same constituency yet again.
Further, he has also asked for his campaign van to be ready, according to sources in the party.
Those managing his campaign also state that he will be campaigning in far more constituencies than he did in 2014.
Over and above the impact on his own political fortunes, this seems to have got his closed aides and party cadres enthusiastic. â€śAnd this is what is required at this stage. When Thalaivar is seen upbeat, the whole party gets galvanized,â€ť says a source in DMK.