Vijayakanth and Premalatha returning to Chennai. Scene at airport.
Chennai: DMDK founder-chief, Vijayakanth’s supporters gathered in thousands this morning to celebrate their Captain’s return from America after two-month-long treatment for various ailments. Based on ground reports, it is fair to say that celebration from crowds of this magnitude inside the city was last seen for the late Dravidian party stalwarts like Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa.
Vijayakant landed in Chennai around 1.30 am today, but left the airport only around 12.20 pm. By then, around 30,000 people thronged the airport and celebrations broke outside DMDK’s Koyambedu headquarters.
Flanked by his wife and DMDK treasurer Premalatha and party deputy general secretary L K Sudhish, Vijayakanth left the airport in the din of cheering fans.
Speaking to reporters, Premalatha said, “Captain’s health has improved and he will make an official announcement on who we strike an alliance with. All the parties that are considered to be big in Tamilnadu politics are in talks with DMDK for an alliance. We have not approached anyone, the other parties are only approaching us.”
There have been reports that a DMDK-AIADMK-BJP alliance is being formed to counter DMK-Congress alliance for the 2019 general elections.
Speaking to News Today on Vijayakant’s return, DMDK ex-MLA and headquarters secretary, B Parthasarathy, said, “We did not expect such a huge turnout given the short notice. Had his return been announced 10 days earlier, an even bigger crowd would have turned up.”
Parthasarathy added that Vijayakanth was unlikely to address any public meetings today and said a major announcement from the party can be expected in the next 10 days.
Crowds throng Chennai airport to welcome Vijayakanth.
Surprisingly, there were no banners or cutouts welcoming Vijayakanth. Only DMDK flags were seen on medians and sidewalks from the airport to the party headquarters in Koyambedu and to Vijayakanth’s house.
Speaking about the ‘bannerless’ celebration, Parthasarathy said, “It was intentional. We had given instructions to not erect banners. Vijayakanth is someone who respects law and after the Supreme Court ruling, DMDK events do not have banners.”
A DMDK supporter from Villupuram said, “This is like an unannounced DMDK maanadu. I last saw this kind of a crowd for the DMDK when the party was founded in 2005. We have come from Villupuram in 20 to 25 lorries and vans to welcome our leader.”
A group of 50 people from Villupuram tonsured their heads to express their love for Vijayakanth.
The crowd was a good mix of party cadres – men and women – and fans of the actor-turned-politician from across Tamilnadu and even families.
Songs and slogans broke out welcoming the ‘Karuppu MGR’ and youngsters on Royal Enfield Bullets went on a rally in celebration.