M. Karunanidhi

M. Karunanidhi
M. Karunanidhi .jpg
Karunanidhi in 2005
2nd Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
In office
13 May 2006 – 15 May 2011
Governor Surjit Singh Barnala (2006-2011)
Deputy M. K. Stalin (2009–2011)
Preceded by J. Jayalalithaa
Succeeded by J. Jayalalithaa
Constituency Chepauk
In office
13 May 1996 – 13 May 2001
Governor Marri Chenna Reddy (1996)
Krishan Kant (Addition Charge) (1996-1997)
M. Fathima Beevi (1997-2001)
Preceded by J. Jayalalithaa
Succeeded by J. Jayalalithaa
Constituency Chepauk
In office
27 January 1989 – 30 January 1991
Governor P. C. Alexander (1989-1990)
Surjit Singh Barnala (1990-1991)
Preceded by President's rule
Succeeded by President's rule
Constituency Chennai Harbour
In office
10 February 1969 – 31 January 1976
Governor Ujjal Singh (1969-1971)
Kodardas Kalidas Shah (1971-1976)
Preceded by V. R. Nedunchezhiyan (Acting)
Succeeded by President's rule
Constituency Saidapet
Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
In office
25 July 1977 – 18 August 1983
Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran
Preceded by R. Ponnappan Nadar
Succeeded by K. S. G. Haja Shareef
Constituency Anna Nagar
President of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
In office
27 July 1969 – 7 August 2018
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by M. K. Stalin
Member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
In office
27 January 1989 – 7 August 2018
Constituency Harbour (1989-1996)
Chepauk (1996-2011)
Thiruvarur (2011-2018)
In office
1 April 1957 – 18 August 1983
Constituency Kulithalai (1957-1962)
Thanjavur (1962-1967)
Saidapet (1967-1977)
Anna Nagar (1977-1983)
Member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council
In office
30 March 1984[1] – 1 November 1986[2]
Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran
Preceded by K. A. Krishnasway
Succeeded by position abolished
Personal details
Muthuvel Dakshinamurthy

(1924-06-03)3 June 1924
Thirukuvalai, Madras Presidency, British India
(present-day Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 7 August 2018(2018-08-07) (aged 94)[3]
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Resting place Kalaignar Karunanidhi Ninaividam
Nationality Indian
Political party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Other political
Justice Party, Dravidar Kazhagam (before 1949)
  • Padmavathi Ammal
    (m. 1944; died 1948)

    Dayalu Ammal
    (m. 1948)

    Rajathi Ammal
    (m. 1966)
Children 6, including M. K. Muthu, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin and Kanimozhi Karunanidhi
Relatives Karunanidhi family
Awards Honorary Doctorate (1971)
Website kalaignar.dmk.in
Nickname(s) Kalaignar & Mutthamizh Arignar
En uyirinum melana anbu udan pirappukkale
("My beloved brothers who are beyond my life")

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (3 June 1924 – 7 August 2018) was an Indian writer and politician who served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for almost two decades over five terms between 1969 and 2011. He was popularly referred to as "Kalaignar" (Artist) and "Mutthamizh Arignar" (Tamil Scholar) for his contributions to Tamil literature. He had the longest tenure as Chief Minister Of Tamil Nadu with 6,863 days in office. He was also a long-standing leader of the Dravidian movement and ten-time president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party. Before entering politics, he worked in the Tamil film industry as a screenwriter. He also made contributions to Tamil literature, having written stories, plays, novels, and a multiple-volume memoir.[4][5] He is the father of current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. K. Stalin.

Karunanidhi died on 7 August 2018 at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai after a series of prolonged, age-related illnesses.[3]

Early life and family

Karunanidhi was born on 3 June 1924, in the village of Thirukkuvalai in Nagapattinam district, Madras Presidency, to Ayyadurai (Grand father) Muthuvel and Anjugam. He had two elder sisters, Periyanayaki and Shanmugasundari.[6][page needed] There was some misconception that his birth name was Dakshinamurthy,[7] later changed to Karunanidhi as influenced by Dravidian and rationalist movements,[8][9] Karunanidhi himself stated that C.N. Annadurai asked him to keep his birthname "Karunanidhi", since it is already popular among the people.[10][additional citation(s) needed] In his own writings Karunanidhi said that his family were of the Devadasi (renamed as Isai Vellalar) caste, a small community that traditionally played musical instruments at ceremonial occasions;[6][7] however his political rival M. G. Ramachandran and some observers contested that and said that he was of Telugu ancestry.[11]

As recalled in the first volume of his biography Nenjukku Needhi, during his childhood Karunanidhi was more interested in music, writing and activism than schoolwork. He also recollects experiencing and revolting against caste-based discrimination during this period. His initial schooling was in Thirukkuvalai and then in 1936 he shifted to a high school in Tiruvarur.[non-primary source needed] As a teenager he was captivated by the political writings of Tamil leaders including Panagal Arasar, Periyar and Pattukottai Azhagirisamy (after whom Karunanidhi later named one of his sons). Karunanidhi joined the anti-Hindi protests sparked by the provincial government's legislation making Hindi-education mandatory in schools, and in 1938 organised a group of boys to hold demonstrations travelling around Tiruvarur on a cycle rickshaw. The law was rescinded in 1939. The taste for activism however stuck and in the ensuing years, after a brief flirtation with Communism, Karunanidhi started following the work and speeches of leaders of Justice Party, Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam. He ignored schooling and dropped-out after failing three-times in the final year.[6]

Karunanidhi started his first magazine, at age 15, called Manava Nesan (Friends of Students), which was hand-written and distributed. It was soon followed by the establishment of Murasoli (Drum Roll). He expanded into writing plays propagating Dravidian ideology, and at age 20 starting writing and performing in plays for the Dravid Nadigar Kazhagam (Dravidian Actor's Group) professionally.[6]

Personal life

Karunanidhi married three times. His first marriage was to Padmavathi in September 1944, and they had a son M. K. Muthu, who was briefly active in Tamil films and politics. Padmavathi died in 1948 soon after childbirth. In September of that year, Karunanidhi's marriage was arranged with Dayalu Ammal, with whom he had three sons, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin and M. K. Tamilarasu, and a daughter, M. K. Selvi. Alagiri and Stalin are active in state politics and competed to be their father's political successors, before Stalin prevailed. Tamilarasu is a businessman and film-producer and campaigner for his father and his party; Selvi campaigned for Karunanidhi elections too. With his third wife, Rajathi Ammal, Karunanidhi had a daughter, Kanimozhi, who is seen as his literary heir.[12][6]

Early political career

Entry into politics

Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14, inspired by a speech by Alagirisamy of the Justice Party, and participated in Anti-Hindi agitations. He founded an organisation for the local youth of his locality. He circulated a handwritten newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram, which was the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement. Karunanidhi involved himself and the student community in social work with other members. Here he started a newspaper for its members, which grew into Murasoli, the DMK party's official newspaper.

The first major protest that aided Karunanidhi in gaining ground in Tamil politics was his involvement in the Kallakudi demonstration in Kallakudi. Original name of this industrial town was Kallakudi and it was changed to Dalmiapuram after a cement mogul who built a cement plant there. DMK wanted to change the name back to Kallakudi. In the protest Karunanidhi and his companions erased the name Dalmiapuram from the railway station and lay down on the tracks blocking the course of trains. Two people died in the protest and Karunanidhi was arrested.[13]

Rise to power

At the age of 33, Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu assembly by winning the Kulithalai seat in the 1957 election. He became the DMK treasurer in 1961 and deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly in the year 1962 and when the DMK came to power in 1967, he became the Minister for Public Works.[14]

Chief Minister

When Annadurai died in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the first leader of DMK, since the leader post was customarily left vacant for Periyar during Annadurai time as Annadurai was party general secretary only. He has held various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena.[citation needed]

1970s and Emergency

During The Emergency, the DMK opposed the Emergency,[citation needed] for which his government was summarily dismissed by Indira Gandhi's government and many of his party leaders were arrested and jailed till the Emergency was lifted.

His one time friend M. G. Ramachandran, who floated his AIADMK party after being sacked by Karunanidhi from DMK a few years earlier, would come to power in Tamil Nadu. The DMK then suffered multiple electoral defeats against his primary opponent M. G. Ramachandran's AIADMK, until the latter's death in 1987.[citation needed]

Karunanidhi meeting the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in Chennai, 2011
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi meeting the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia to finalise plan for the financial year, in New Delhi on 6 June 2006

1980s and 1990s

Karunanidhi had a brief stint as Chief Minister in the late 1980s, during which his government was dismissed by the Central government on accusations of degrading the law and order situation in the state . He later again became the CM of Tamil Nadu in 1996 following a sweeping electoral win in the preceding elections. Following a five-year rule, his party again lost at the elections to J. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK in 2001.[citation needed]


He was however back in power when he took over as chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 13 May 2006 after his coalition defeated his main opponent J. Jayalalithaa in the May 2006 elections.[15] At the end of the 5-year administration, the DMK lost the majority of seats in the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu when elections were held in 2011, thereby ceding power again to the AIADMK under J. Jayalalithaa. During the 2016 closely fought elections DMK narrowly lost seats against J. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK.[citation needed]

As of 2006, he represented the constituency of Tiruvarur in the Tamil Nadu state Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 13 times (from 1957 to 2016 elections) and once to the now abolished Tamil Nadu Legislative Council.[citation needed]

Governance and other initiatives

The Karunanidhi-led DMK government from 1969 to 1976 introduced various schemes for the welfare of the people including, eye surgeries for the blind called 'Kannoli Thittam",[16] night homes for the rehabilitation of beggars and lepers, a first agricultural university in India in Coimbatore in 1971, separate commission for backward communities, land ceiling law, free education for low wage earners, funding widow remarriages and incentives for mixed marriage couples, Tamil Thai Valthu at the beginning of government programs.[17][18][19]

There were a lot of people pulling hand-rickshaws back then. Hand rickshaws were abolished in his rule and bicycle rickshaws were provided in their place.[20] Karunanidhi founded the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in September 1970 to build permanent houses for those living in slums.[21] In 1973, women were allowed to join the police force.[22] On Independence Day and Republic Day, state governors had the right to hoist the national flag. At the national level, Karunanidhi voiced for right to hoist the flag to be given to the chief ministers. Thus, From 1973, the Central Government gave permission to all the Chief Ministers to hoist flags.[23] He implemented the "Manu Needhi Thittam", which mandated district officials to set aside a day every week to hear public grievances, and set up grievance redress procedures.[24]

In 1989, scheme of providing free electricity for the irrigation facility of small and marginal farmers came into effect. In 1989, the Karunanidhi government passed a law giving equal rights to women in family properties.[25] The Karunanidhi-led government has increased the existing quota to 69 percent in Tamil Nadu for the upliftment of the oppressed community in terms of education and employment. The reservation of 20% for the backward, 30% for the most backward, 18% for the downtrodden and 1% for the tribals has been in place since 1989.[19][18]

Women's self-help groups were first established in 1989 in Dharmapuri to integrate women and increase self-employment opportunities. The main schemes implemented during this 2 year rule are the Nutrition Egg Scheme, the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar, Memorial Marriage Assistance Scheme which provides financial assistance for marriage to poor women, financial assistance to poor women and the 30% reservation for women in government institutions.[26][18][17]

From 1996, Karunanidhi changed the name of Madras from English and other foreign languages to Chennai. He opened farmer's markets in many parts of Tamil Nadu to farmers who could sell their produce in the market and benefit directly.[18] He opened the Samathuvapuram (Equality Village) schemes in 145 places in Tamil Nadu in order to forget and to eliminate caste-based segregation.[27] Local elections were held across Tamil Nadu with 33% reservation for women.[18] His government has implemented a scheme to run private minibuses to facilitate the people of the slums to reach the surrounding urban areas easily.[28] A scheme was implemented for the first time in Tamil Nadu to provide free bus pass so that school students would not be burdened to travel for their education.[29][18] Manimandampam for Tamil scholars and martys and the Tidel park was established. In 2000, the 133 ft Thiruvalluvar Statue was built.[30]

On the stage of his swearing in ceremony on 13 May 2006, he signed a scheme to implement 1 kg of rice for ₹ 1 and implemented it in 2008, through this, Tamil Nadu had become a hunger-free state.[18][31] He implemented a ₹ 7,000 crore waiver of farmers cooperative loan.[32] Schemes were implemented to provide free color TVs to every family with ration cards and to provide gas stoves with free gas connection to the poor women who use wood stove-kerosene stove.[33] During his rule, Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to implement the United Nations guidelines on what the government should do for the disabled.[18]

In September 2006, he implemented the free land distribution scheme for the benefit of the landless poor.[34] In December 2006, Karunanidhi launched the ''Varumun Kappom'', a scheme in which medical camps would be organised in all the districts in the state and the people could get screened for various diseases and the "Nalamana Tamizhagam Thittam' for diabetes, cancer and heart disease.[35] He also created the free 108 ambulance scheme in the state.[36] In 2010, He introduced the "Kalaignar Veetu Vasathi Thittam" to convert thatched huts to concrete houses in the state.[37] In 2009, he introduced a special quota of 3 percent reservations for the Arunthathiyar community. In 2019, the Arunthathiyars started building a temple "as a mark of thanksgiving to Kalaignar".[38]

World Tamil Conference

He delivered the special address on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in 1970, and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1987. He penned the song "Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyaam", the official theme song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010, that was set to tune by A. R. Rahman.[39]

'Ulaga Tamizh Manadu' (World Tamil Conference), was the first coined word for the conference in 2010, however the IATR organisation that had right to conduct the conference was not happy hence change in name.[40]


Karunanidhi awarding Kalaimamani


Karunanidhi began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry.[41] His first movie as screenwriter was Rajakumari produced by Coimbatore-based Jupiter Pictures directed by A. S. A. Sami starring M. G. Ramachandran. During this period he and M. G. Ramachandran, then an upcoming actor and later day founder of AIADMK party started a long friendship eventually turning into rivals in later years politics. His stint with Jupiters Pictures then housed at Central Studios continued for another MGR starrer Abhimanyu, Marudhanaattu Ilavarasi (1950) starring M. G. Ramachandran and V. N. Janaki.

Around late 1949, T. R. Sundaram of Modern Theatres Studio in Salem engaged Karunanidhi as scriptwriter for the film Manthiri Kumari starring M. G. Ramachandran which would become be a blockbuster hit. Later T. R. Sundaram had Karunanidhi on permanent rolls at Modern Studio.


His most notable movie was Parasakthi,[42] a turning point in Tamil cinema, as it espoused the ideologies of the Dravidian movement and also introduced two prominent actors of Tamil filmdom, Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran.[43] The movie was initially marred with controversies and faced censorship troubles, but was eventually released in 1952.[43] becoming a huge box office hit. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticised Hinduism.[44]

Two other movies written by Karunanidhi that contained such messages were Panam (1952) directed by famous comedian and political activist N. S. Krishnan and Thangarathnam (1960) produced and acted by S. S. Rajendran another popular actor and DMK activist.[42] These movies contained themes such as widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability, self-respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hypocrisy.[43] Another memorable hit movie was Manohara (1954) starring Sivaji Ganesan, S. S. Rajendran and P. Kannamba known for its crisp dialogues.

Writing and narration style

Through his wit and oratorical skills he rapidly rose as a popular politician. As his movies and plays with strong social messages became popular, they suffered from increased censorship; two of his plays in the 1950s were banned.[43] He was famous for writing historical and social (reformist) stories which propagated the socialist and rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement to which he belonged. Alongside C. N. Annadurai he began using Tamil cinema to propagate his political ideals through his movies.[citation needed]


At the age of 20, Karunanidhi went to work for Jupiter Pictures as a scriptwriter. His first film, Rajakumaari, gained him much popularity. It was here that his skills as a scriptwriter were honed, which extended to several films. He was active in screenwriting even during his later political career till 2011 when he last wrote for historic movie Ponnar Shankar.

  • Romapuri Pandian (Kalaignar TV)
  • Ramanujar (Kalaignar TV)
Year Film Song Composer
1987 Ore Raththam "Ore Ratham", "Oru Poraliyin" Devendran
1987 Veeran Veluthambi "Surulu Meesai" S. A. Rajkumar
1988 Makkal Aanaiyittal "Aara Amara Konjam" S. A. Rajkumar
1993 Madurai Meenakshi "Neethi mandram" Deva
2005 Kannamma "Ilaignane", "Iru Vizhi" S. A. Rajkumar
2005 Mannin Maindhan "Kannin Manipola" Bharathwaj
2006 Pasa Kiligal "Thendral ennum" Vidyasagar
2010 Penn Singam "Aaha Veenaiyil" Deva


Karunanidhi (middle) with actor Sivaji Ganesan (left)

Karunanidhi is known for his contributions to Tamil literature. His contributions cover a wide range: poems, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historical novels, stage-plays, dialogues and movie songs. He has written Kuraloviam for Thirukural, Tholkaappiya Poonga, Poombukar, as well as many poems, essays and books. Apart from literature, Karunanidhi has also contributed to the Tamil language through art and architecture. Like the Kuraloviyam, in which Kalaignar wrote about Thirukkural, through the construction of Valluvar Kottam he gave an architectural presence to Thiruvalluvar, in Chennai. At Kanyakumari, Karunanidhi constructed a 133-foot-high statue of Thiruvalluvar in honour of the scholar.


The books written by Karunanidhi include Sanga Thamizh, Thirukkural Urai, Ponnar Sankar, Romapuri Pandian, Thenpandi Singam, Vellikizhamai, Nenjukku Needhi, Iniyavai Irubathu and Kuraloviam. His books of prose and poetry number more than 100.

Stage plays

Karunanidhi's stage plays include: Manimagudam, Ore Ratham, Palaniappan, Thooku Medai, Kagithapoo, Naane Arivali, Vellikizhamai, Udhayasooriyan and Silappathikaram.

Illness, death and reactions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tribute to Karunanidhi in Rajaji Hall

Karunanidhi was in poor health from October 2016 and minimised his political activities and public appearances, with the last one being on his 94th birthday on 3 June 2018.

On 28 July 2018, Karunanidhi's health deteriorated and became "extremely critical and unstable", and he was admitted at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai for treatment.[45] He died there at 6:10 p.m. on 7 August 2018 due to age-related illness, which led to multiple organ failure.[3][46]

The government of Tamil Nadu declared a public holiday on 8 August 2018 and a seven-day mourning after Karunanidhi's death.[47]

A national mourning on 8 August 2018 was announced by the government of India.[48] The national flag flew half-mast in Delhi, all state capitals and across Tamil Nadu on 8 August 2018.[49]

The governments of Karnataka and Bihar announced one-day and two-days state mourning respectively.[50]

Awards and titles

Karunanidhi in Paavendhar Tamil Literature & Research library
  • Annamalai University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1971.[51]
  • He was awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book Thenpandi Singam.[51]
  • On 15 December 2006, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Surjit Singh Barnala conferred an honorary doctorate on the Chief Minister on the occasion of the 40th annual convocation.[citation needed]
  • In June 2007,[52][53][54] the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi announced that it would confer the title "Friend of the Muslim Community" (Yaaran-E-Millath) upon M. Karunanidhi.

Elections contested and positions held

Karunanidhi contested and won in all Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections (then Madras) since 1957 except 1984 when he didn't contest the election. He resigned immediately after being elected in 1991, due to the routing of his party (only 2 seats out of 234).

Year Constituency Result Vote percentage Opposition Candidate Opposition Party Opposition vote percentage
1957 Kulithalai Won K.A. Dharmalingam INC
1962 Thanjavur Won A.Y.S. Parisutha Nadar INC
1967 Saidapet Won S.G. Vinayagamurthy INC
1971 Saidapet Won Kudanthai Ramalingam Congress (O)
1977 Anna Nagar Won 50.1 G. Krishnamurthy ADMK 31.0[55]
1980 Anna Nagar Won 49.0 H. V. Hande ADMK 48.3[55]
Not Contested
1989 Harbour Won 59.8 K.A. Wahab Muslim League 13.8[56]
1991 Harbour Won 48.7 K. Suppu ADMK 47.3[56]
1996 Chepauk Won 77.1 N.S. Nellai Kannan INC 17.2[57]
2001 Chepauk Won 51.9 R. Damodharan INC 43.5[57]
2006 Chepauk Won 51.0 Dawood Miah Khan Independent 38.3[57]
2011 Thiruvarur Won 62.9 M. Rajendran ADMK 33.9[58]
2016 Thiruvarur Won 61.73 R. Pannerselvam ADMK 26.99[59]

Posts in legislature

Assembly From To Position Party – Number of seats
/Seats contested
Third Assembly 1962 1967 Deputy Leader of the Opposition 50/143[60]
Fourth Assembly 1967 1969 State Minister for Public Works 138/233[61]
Fourth Assembly 10 February 1969 5 January 1971 Chief Minister (1)[62] 136/233[63]
Fifth Assembly 15 March 1971 31 January 1976 Chief Minister (2)[62] 182/203[64]
Sixth Assembly 25 July 1977 17 February 1980 Leader of the Opposition (1)[62] 48/230[65]
Seventh Assembly 27 June 1980 18 August 1983 Leader of the Opposition (2)[62] 37/112[66]
Ninth Assembly 27 January 1989 30 January 1991 Chief Minister (3)[62] 150/202[67]
Tenth Assembly 26 April 1991 30 March 1996 Member of Legislative Assembly[62] 2/176[68]
Eleventh Assembly 13 May 1996 14 May 2001 Chief Minister (4)[62] 173/182[69]
Thirteenth Assembly 13 May 2006 14 May 2011 Chief Minister (5)[62] 96/132[70]
Fourteenth Assembly 16 May 2011 19 May 2016 Member of Legislative Assembly 23/124
Fifteenth Assembly 19 May 2016 7 August 2018 (died) Member of Legislative Assembly 89/176


Corruption Charges

In the 1970s, Karunanidhi was accused by the Sarkaria Commission for allegedly promoting a construction firm for a Veeranam development project.[71] In 2001, he was arrested on the orders of J. Jayalalithaa based on a First Information report over alleged losses of alleged losses of ₹12 crore filed by Commissioner J. C. T. Acharyalu who Karunanidhi had earlier kept under suspension. He was arrested after a few hours after the complaint with no time for investigation. Karunanidhi was pushed and dragged from his home and was jailed and released five days later.[72][73] He and his party members were also charged.[74] Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley claimed it was a case of 'personal agenda'.[75] [76] The police later dropped the case on 2006 citing it was a "mistake of facts".[77]

Ram Setu remarks

In September 2007, In response to the Sethusamudram controversy, Karunanidhi questioned the existence of the Hindu God Rama. He was quoted as saying,

His remarks caused a firestorm of controversy. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Karunanidhi of religious discrimination when noting "We would like to know from Karunanidhi if he would make a similar statement against the head of any other religion; chances are he may not."[78]

Connections with LTTE

In an April 2009 interview to NDTV, Karunanidhi made a controversial remark stating that "Prabhakaran is my good friend" and also said, "India could not forgive the LTTE for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi".[79][80][81] An interim report of Justice Jain Commission, which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, had indicted Karunanidhi for abetting Rajiv Gandhi's murderers, who belonged to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).[82] but the final report contained no such allegations.[83]

Allegations of nepotism

Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents, by some members of his party, and by other political observers of trying to promote nepotism.[84][page needed] Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party.[citation needed] But some of the party men have pointed out that Stalin has come up on his own. He has faced a lot of hardship since 1975, when he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the Emergency that a fellow DMK party prisoner died trying to save him.[85]


See also