When Kalaignar refused the call of his people

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on August 07, 2018

Distraught supporters of the DMK outside Kauvery Hospital in Chennai react to the news of M Karunanidhi’s death on Tuesday   -  AP

Distraught supporters of the DMK outside the Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, react to the news of M Karunanidhi’s death on Tuesday   -  PTI

A crowd of DMK cadre thronged Kauvery Hospital since afternoon

Thalaivaa, Ezhunduvaa (chief, wake up and come)” reverberated through the air as DMK workers gathered outside Kauvery Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, when the health of their leader M Karunanidhi was declared “very critical”.

Women with Karunanidhi’s posters wept inconsolably and men raised slogans in praise of their leader. However, in the end, all slogans proved to be in vain as their leader gave up his fight as the sun set on Tuesday.

The visuals were quite similar to the ones witnessed outside Apollo Hospital when former chief minister J Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016 after 75 days of hospitalisation.

While women had dominated the crowd outside Apollo Hospital, men thronged the street outside Kauvery Hospital.

Distraught supporters of the DMK outside the Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, react to the news of M Karunanidhi’s death on Tuesday   -  PTI



A weeping Sivagami from Karunanidhi’s hometown of Tiruvarur pointed to the fourth floor of the hospital and said: “My leader is sleeping there.”

Some of the party cadre took selfies with the hospital in the background. “I have to show this picture of the hospital where my Thalaivar (chief ) died to my family back home in PV Kalathur village in Chengalpet,” said Manickam, who has been with the party for over three decades.

And when news of Karunanidhi’s death broke at 6.10 pm, a deafening silence replaced the slogans as the cadre struggled to come to terms with reality.

“Nobody can replace our leader. We are worried a lot about the future of the party,” said a disconsolate Thanikachalam from Gudiyatham, voicing concerns of how the family would take Karunanidhi’s legacy forward.

Most offices closed early as the news of deterioration of Karunanidhi’s health came in the evening through an official hospital bulletin. Not everyone was lucky enough to reach the safe confines of their home in time. Many were stranded at various places in the city as buses were off the roads once the news of his death was announced.

Earlier in the day, the Tamil Nadu police chief had ordered maximum deployment of forces across the State after Kauvery Hospital announced that Karunanidhi’s condition had become “extremely critical”.

A circular issued by Director-General of Police TK Rajendran asked all Superintendents of Police, City Police Commissioners and others to direct officials under them to report to them immediately in uniform without delay.

The Zonal Inspector Generals of Police had been asked to utilise manpower within the zone depending upon the requirement.

Published on August 07, 2018

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