ALL INDIA ANNA DRAVIDA MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM'S HISTORICAL ROOTS JUSTICE PARTY On November 20, 1916, Sir P Thyagarayar founded a movement in Chennai which he called the South Indian Rights and Welfare Club (Then India Nala Urimai Sangam). This later developed into a political force called the Justice Party, taking its name for the outfit's mouthpiece publication, JUSTICE. Literally translated, the party came to be called Needhi Katchi in Tamil. When the first General Elections in British India took place in November, 1920, the Justice Party secured a landslide victory winning 63 out of the 98 seats in the Madras Presidency. The new Government, took up office on December 17, 1920. From 1920 to 1937 the Justice Party ruled Tamil Nadu - for a period of 17 years. Its main objective consisted of establishing Social Justice and Equality for all segments of society. The Justice Party was the forerunner of the Dravidian Movement and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of the present times owes its origins to it. EMERGENCE OF PERIYAR E V Ramasamy Naicker, more familiarly known to the people as Periyar, was a member of the Indian National Congress. He echoed the ideas of the Justice Party within the Congress and severely condemned the intemperate verbal attacks on the Justice Party launched by the regional Congress leaders. He made an impassioned call for moderation and accommodation. On several occasions, he locked horns with the venerated Congress orator, Sathiamoorthy Iyer, and the spontaneous wit that accompanied these exchanges, is today part of history. Periyar, as leader of the Congress Party, participated in the 25th Tamil Nadu Congress session in Kancheepuram in 1925 and tried to move a resolution pertaining to Social Justice. When he failed to get the resolution passed, he left the Congress in anguish, but not in defeat. Go To Top During the next two decades, he became the stormy petrel of the Self-respect Movement. Joining the Justice Party, he carried out a fiery propaganda against class distinctions, enslavement of women, social injustice, bonded labour and religious superstition. Thereby he created a great awakening among the masses in Tamil Nadu. DRAVIDAR KAZHAGAM In August 1944, at the Conference that took place in Salem under the Presidentship of Periyar, a resolution was passed, changing the name of the Justice Party to Dravidar Kazhagam, as proposed by Arignar Annadurai and seconded by Navalar Nendunchezhiyan. It was the high point of Periyar's policy as leader of the movement to do social service through peaceful means discarding completely the political pathway. C N Annadurai, just Anna to all, was the disciple of Periyar and even adopted by Periyar as his heir. Yet, owing to policy differences with Periyar, Anna broke away from the Dravidar Kazhagam and lauched his own political outfit called the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on September 17, 1949. In 1967, Anna helped by the dazzling popularity of Movies-tar-politician, M G Ramachandran (MGR) led the DMK to power in Tamil Nadu, ousting the Congress, which had dominated post-Independence politics in the state till then. He spent the rest of his life in implementing the aims and objectives of his political career with the deepest commitment. Under Anna's leadership, both the DMK and the state of Tamil Nadu flourished. With his sudden demise on February 3, 1969, the self-centered Karunanidhi, a minister in Anna's ministry, took over as leader of the party and government. Karunanidhi was not a leader with a mass following. His ascent was possible only by riding piggy-back on the all-encomassing popularity of MGR. But after becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi, drunk with power and sunk in corruption, became a veritable dictator. He put Anna's ideals on the back-burner. Yet, in the 1971 Elections he could lead the DMK back to power only because of the immense esteem and popularity of MGR. Go To Top THE EMERGENCE OF THE ALL INDIA ANNA DRAVIDA MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM (AIADMK) Karunanidhi's wayward ways and unbridled corruption pained MGR. He was upset at the manner in which the Party's assets were being misused by Karunanidhi and his family as their personal property. These issues also led to growing differences within the DMK Party. MGR, who was committed to protecting the policies and ideals of Anna, raised the banner of revolt. As treasurer of the party, he demanded that the Party Accounts be subjected to proper audit. Taking this as his cue, Karunanidhi ignominiously kicked the ladder that had taken him to the top and threw out MGR from the Party. This act did not make MGR an outsider with the masses who adored him, as Karunanidhi had hoped. Far from it, he was welcomed as the hero of the people throughout Tamil Nadu. There was an upheaval in Tamil Nadu when Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR was removed from the DMK Party by Karunanidhi. Throughout Tamil Nadu, in many places MGR Fan Club members and DMK cadres with their overwhelming love for their Puratchi Thalaivar (Revolutionary Leader), of their own accord improvised black and red flags bearing the symbol of a Lotus and raised them aloft. On October 17, 1972, carrying the sacred name of Anna, and with Anna's profile on the flag, the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) was launched, founded by Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR. On November 4, 1972, MGR met the then Governor of Tamilnadu, Mr K K Shah and submitted a petition listing the charges of corruption against Karunanidhi, his family members and his cabinet colleagues. Later, he met the President of India in New Delhi and presented a similar petition. Around the same time, M Kalyanasundaram of the Communist Party of India also submitted a similar list of charges on behalf of his party. In all 54 chares of corruption were made out. Out of these, as many as 13 directly involved Karunanidhi. In a bid to divert attention from the charges against himself, Karunanidhi foisted numerous false cases on Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR and on 60,000 Cadres of the ADMK. He even resorted to a murderous attack on the Puratchi Thalaivar through hired goondas and deceptively filed a false case against him after precipitating the attack. Go To Top Nine months after the ADMK was founded, the bye-election for the Dindigul constituency was held. The election was contested by the AIADMK. The 'Two Leaves' symbol was adopted as the ADMK's Election Symbol. In this election, the AIADMK was opposed by Karunanidhi's DMK, which was ruling Tamil Nadu at that time. The Indira Gandhi-led Congress-I, which was in power at the Centre and the Congress-O led by the veteran leader Kamaraj, also fielded candidates. In short, the nascent ADMK was confronted by a very impressive array of political parties ! During the election campaign, with the help of his Police force, Chief Minister Karunanidhi let loose anarchy. ADMK cadres in large numbers were attacked. One of the ADMK cadres, Vathalagundu Arumugam was murdered. On the polling day, of the 6,43,704-strong electorate of the constituency, 4,96,553 cast their votes. The Counting of votes took place on May 22, 1973. At the end of the day, the ADMK candidate had emerged runaway winner polling 2,60,930 votes. The Congress-O candidate got 1,18,032 votes while the ruling DMK could manage only 93,496. Congress-I was a mere spectator with just 11,423 votes. Enthused with this resounding victory, on September 17, 1973 Puratchi Thalaivar announced that the ideology of the ADMK was "Annaism". The AIADMK secured its election victories fast enough despite Karunanidhi's mounting repression and attack against the supporters of Puratchi Thalaivar. On May 16,1976, he changed the name of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The mal-administration of Karunanidhi's regime caused growing resentment among the people. On January 31, 1976, the Central Government, taking cognisance of the innumerable documented charges of corruption, malpractices and nepotism made out by Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR, dismissed the Karunanidhi government and instituted a Commission of inquiry headed by Justice Sarkaria, to inquire into these charges. Go To Top The Sarkaria Commission met 86 times, interrogated 1600 witnesses and recorded their statements in 13,000 pages. It indicted Karunanidhi on several charges of corruption and siphoning of public funds. Not surprisingly, in the 1977, General Elections held on March 20, 1977, the AIADMK won 18 seats, underscoring the maiden electoral victory in the Dindigul bye-elections earlier. Later, in the elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the DMK was trounced. The AIADMK emerged victorious, winning 127 of the 195 seats it contested. Puratchi Thalaivar assumed the office of Chief Minister on june 30, 1977. After this, Karunanidhi resorted to foul means to save his own skin. He entered into an alliance with the Congress-I, which was in power at the Centre and scuttled legal proceedings in the wake of the Sarkaria a commission recommendation. He then forced the Centre to dismiss the MGR government in Tamilnadu. But the people of Tamilnadu did not approve of these tactics. In the succeeding General elections to the Legislative Assembly in 1980, MGR and his AIADMK was again victorious and came back to power. Puratchi Thalaivar assumed office for the second time on June 9, 1980. Under the Chief Ministership of Dr MGR, Tamil Nadu progressed. One of the greatest achievements of Dr MGR's rule was the introduction of Noon Day Meal called as "Nutritious Meal" for school children. A scheme, which ensured that no child went hungry or was kept away from school as his/her parents could not afford a square meal a day. Having to concentrate hard on both party work and state administration, Puratchi Thalaivar felt the need to induct someone to look after the party's affairs in order to give him more time for governance. With the DMK launching a malicious campaign against him and his party, Puratchi Thalaivar wanted a leader with mass appeal to counter the DMK tirade. Puratchi Thalaivi J Jayalalithaa was handpicked to don this mantle. On June 4, 1982, Ms Jayalalithaa became a party member. She was made the propaganda secretary of the party in 1983 and she was elevated asa member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984. Go To Top In 1984, Puratchi Thalaivar fell seriously ill and had to go abroad for intensive treatment. At the same time, the state had to face fresh elections. With his protégé, Puratchi Thalaivi J Jayalalithaa spearheading the campaign, the AIADMK swept the polls once again without Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR even having to lift a finger from his hospital bed in the USA ! He returned some months later to an emotional welcome from his followers. Three years later, on December 24, 1987 Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR left for the heavenly abode. Several lakhs of people gathered during the last rites to pay tearful homage to their beloved leader. Tamil Nadu was plunged in gloom, deprived of one of its most illustrious son. On the sands of the Marina Beach, Dr MGR's mortal body was interred in a Sandalwood coffin close to the memorial of Perarignar Anna who had called him as his Idhayakani or Heart's Fruit.
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