Chennai: It is not uncommon for politicians to use the names of former leaders like Kamaraj, Anna and MGR during their election campaign. This is mostly used to make people remember the good things the leaders have done and to woo the voters to their party.
However, this might not be the case when it comes to politicos recollecting former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi’s name.
While DMK president M K Stalin has been harping that his party would commence a probe into the reason behind the death of Jayalalithaa, now, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami alleged Karunanidhi was kept under ‘house arrest’ for two years and added that the AIADMK government will launch a probe into it.
Stalin, who succeeded Karunanidhi as DMK chief, has been repeatedly talking about the ‘circumstances’ leading to the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, saying if DMK comes to power, it would order a comprehensive probe into it.
In his Lok Sabha election campaigns, Stalin has been saying such a probe would ‘unravel’ the facts behind her death to Jayalalithaa’s true followers.
In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat to repeated assertions by Stalin, Palaniswami Monday alleged Karunanidhi was kept under ‘house arrest’ for two years.
Levelling the charge at an election rally in the Nilgiris, Palaniswami said the 94-year-old Karunanidhi, who passed away 7 August last year, could have been taken abroad for treatment and said the AIADMK government could launch a probe into it.
During his speech, Palaniswami claimed Karunanidhi was kept under ‘house arrest’ by Stalin for his own ‘selfish interests’ and that it was the ‘government’s duty’ to probe any hardship faced by the veteran Dravidian stalwart since he was a former chief minister.
The AIADMK joint coordinator said complaints had been received in this connection. He charged that Karunanidhi was not given proper treatment by Stalin, fearing he may not succeed his father as party chief should the veteran return in good health.
“Karunanidhi is a former chief minister. He was not given proper treatment and put under house arrest by Stalin because he thought he cannot become party chief if his father did well,” Palaniswami said.
“DMK workers say Karunanidhi would have talked if he had been taken abroad and given better treatment. So, Stalin kept his father under house arrest for his own selfish interests,” he told the audience.
“Since Karunanidhi is a former Chief Minister and was an MLA at the time of his death, in August 2018, it is the duty of the government to probe whether he faced any hardship,” the AIADMK joint coordinator added.
Karunanidhi fell ill in October 2016 due to a drug-induced allergy and was admitted to a private hospital in December 2016. He had undergone tracheostomy, a procedure to optimise his breathing.
The Chief Minister further added he was making these remarks based on “available information”.
He also asked why Stalin was not made party chief when Karunanidhi was alive, and pointed out that the DMK chief came to the present post only after his father’s demise.
Stalin was elected party president unopposed 28 August 2018, weeks after his father passed away.