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R.M. Veerappan always yearned for Dravidian unity: Karunanidhi

Special Correspondent

Veteran leader felicitated on the occasion of his 81st birthday



BEST WISHES: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi greets R.M. Veerappan, president, M.G.R. Kazhagam, on his 81st birthday in Chennai on Saturday. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Veerappan's wife Rajamal are also in the picture. — Photo: R. Ragu

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday said that M.G.R.Kazhagam president R.M. Veerappan had always yearned for the unity of the Dravidian movement.

Felicitating the leader on the occasion of his 81st birthday, Mr. Karunanidhi said Mr. Veerappan had started his political career as a volunteer of the Dravidian movement right from the days of Dravida Kazhagam founder Periyar E.V.Ramasamy and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader C.N. Annadurai.

Mr. Karunanidhi said when the DMK faced problems resulting in expulsion of party treasurer M.G. Ramachandran in 1972, Mr. Veerappan came to his house and pleaded with him to reconsider the decision as he was interested in the party's unity. However, some persons scuttled such a possibility. One of those who had harshly treated Mr. Veerappan then, defected to M.G.R.'s party three months later.

Awards presented

Any political party, though guided by its leaders, relied on volunteers to remain a vibrant organisation, Mr. Karunanidhi said. He also gave away the `Tamizh Semmal' award to five scholars for their contribution to Tamil language and literature.

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram referred to Mr. Veerappan's association with drama troupes, the film world and political parties. He asked him to record his contributions to different sectors in the form of oral history. Communist party of India State secretary D. Pandian described Mr.Veerappan as a practical man who was friendly to people belonging to different political parties. He appealed to political leaders not to cross the Lakshman Rekha while criticising leaders of the rival camps.

Presiding over the function, Pro-Chancellor of Annamalai University M.A.M. Ramasamy said there were occasions when Mr. Veerappan had guided M.G.R in taking right decisions.

His inspiration

Mr. Veerappan said he drew inspiration from the Communist movement to take the plunge into politics. Describing the formation of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam as a "political accident", he said there was no need for the party's existence now.

Former MP Jagathratchagan also spoke.

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