Muthuvel Karunanidhi popularly known as M. Karunanidhi is an Indian Politician, Screenwriter, Editor, Publisher and the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Since 1969, DMK has been headed by M. Karunanidhi, he has also served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times.  He became Chief Minister for the first time in 1969. On 13 May 2006, he became the Chief Minister for the fifth time. He is also known for his script writing works in the Tamil film industry.

M. Karunanidhi was born in Thirukkuvalai village in Nagapattinam district. From an early age, he was more interested towards drama, poetry, and literature.

Karunanidhi began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. He made his debut in the film Rajakumari in which he wrote the script back in 1947, the film gained him popularity and he decided to continue his career in the field. Later, he was inspired by the speech of Alagiriswami of the Justice Party and step into the politics at his 14th age and participated in Anti-Hindu agitations. He then founded an organisation for the local youth and also circulated Manavar Nesan, a handwritten newspaper to its member. He also started a newspaper which grew into ‘Murasoli‘, the DMK party’s official newspaper.

In 1957, M. Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly from Kulithalai seat of Tiruchirapalli district. He became the DMK treasurer in 1961 and the very next year, he became the deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly.

When his party DMK came to power in 1967, he became the minister for public works. After the death of C.N. Annadurai in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He has served in various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu politics. However, he suffered multiple electoral defeats against his primary opponent M.G.Ramachandran’s ADMK until the latter’s death in 1987. Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1996. After completing a full term, his party lost in the 2001 elections to J. Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK. However, He was 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. After another full term in office, Karunanidhi lost to Jayalalitha’s AIADMK in the 2011 Assembly elections. He is currently representing Tiruvarur constituency in Tamil Nadu legislative assembly.

Karunanidhi has three wives Padmavathi Ammal, Dayalu Ammal and Rajathi Ammal. And five sons M. K. Muthu, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin, M. K. Tamilarasu, M. K. Selvi and one daughter Kanimozhi.

He has been Chief Minister for following years (13 May 2006 – 15 May 2011), (13 May 1996 – 13 May 2001), (27 January 1989 – 30 January 1991), (15 March 1971 – 31 January 1976), (10 February 1969 – 4 January 1971).

Achievements of Karunanidhi in Tamil

  • The first change was “Madras” State was renamed as “Tamil Nadu”.
  • The bilingual policy has been brought. Accordingly, the decision to replace compulsory Hindi in Tamil schools and English bilinguals was passed in the Assembly in 1968.
  • Free Concrete Houses for Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
  • The inclusion of Urdu Speaking Muslims in the list of Backward Classes, like Tamil Speaking Muslims.
  • 20 per cent separate reservation for Most Backward Classes including Vanniar and Seer Marabinar.
  • 18 per cent separate reservation for Scheduled Castes and 1 per cent for Scheduled Tribes.
  • Free Education to Most Backward Classes and subject to income ceiling to Backward Classes up to Degree level
  • Madras city renamed as ‘Chennai’.
  • A cooperative loan of Rs. 7,000 crores waived to benefit 22 lakh 40 thousand and 739 families of farmers.
  • Free Bus pass to 24 lakhs 82 thousand school students and 2 lakhs 99 thousand college students every year.
  • Free 108 Emergency Ambulance Scheme with the Central assistance has benefited 8 lakh 8 thousand 907 persons so far; Further, lives of 42 thousand 232 persons have been saved.
  • Persons of any caste can become Archakas in Temples – Legislation enacted to establish an equitable society.
  • Action has been taken to reduce the pendency of cases, by establishing Evening and Holiday Courts, as per the recommendation of the 13th Finance Commission.

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M. Karunanidhi’s Controversies

Ram Setu remarks

In response to the Sethusamudram controversy, Karunanidhi questioned the existence of the Hindu God Rama. He said ‘It is said that there was a God thousand of years ago called Ram. Do not touch the bridge built by him. I ask who is this Ram? Which engineering college did he graduate from?” 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 religious head of any other religion; chance are he may not.”

Connections with LTTE

The interim report of Justice Jain Commission, which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The interim report recommended that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the DMK party be held responsible for abetting Rajiv Gandhi’s murderers. The final report contained no such allegations. In April 2009, in an 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”.

Allegations of nepotism

Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents and by other political observers of trying to promote nepotism. Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party. 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) and was beaten up in jail so brutally during the Emergency that a fellow DMK party prisoner died trying to save him. Stalin was an MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, but he was not inducted into the Cabinet. He became Chennai’s 44th mayor and its first directly elected mayor in 1996. It was only in his fourth term as MLA that he was made a Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet and then in 2009 was made the Deputy Chief Minister. His daughter Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP now. Currently, he is serving as President of DMK.

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