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Friday, April 16, 2021

Named by Periyar and Anna, two men who have been campaigning for DMK for decades

Both the men are confident that the MK Stalin-led DMK alliance will sweep the elections this year.

Written by Janardhan Koushik |
Updated: March 20, 2021 10:34:13 pm
Tamizharasan and Anbazhagan campaigning for the DMK in Chennai on Saturday. (Express Photo)

The political mercury is rising in Tamil Nadu as the AIADMK, which has been in power for the last 10 years, aiming to pull off a hattrick while the DMK, which has not formed a government in over a decade, is confident that it will break the jinx this time.

Unlike the past elections, the 2021 Assembly polls is a battle of leaders who aim to create a legacy of their own as both the DMK and AIADMK have seen a change in face after the demise of former chief ministers M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.

During a visit to “Anna Arivalayam”, the headquarters of DMK, we caught up with two DMK patriarchs who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of their party.

“The election is very important for our leader. He will definitely win this time. Thalapathy (MK Stalin) is contesting from the Kolathur constituency and I will be campaigning for him. I will walk up and down the area to seek votes for our party and I have been doing this for more than 50 years,” 68-year-old Tamizharasan, who is working as a watchman for a DMK functionary, said.

Tamizharasan, who hails from Chidambaram, settled in Chennai a couple of decades ago. He has seen the growth of the party from close quarters. From the period of Kalaigar Karunanidhi and now to MK Stalin, he has been part of several campaigns. Even at this ripe age, Tamizharasan continues to amaze the young cadres. Clad in a black shirt, red trousers and a ‘Rising sun’ hat, Tamizharasan holds high the party’s flag and continues to do so as he considers this as a duty. He is also quite popular among the DMK leaders and cadres.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021 Tamizharasan during one of his campaigns. (Express Photo)

“People tell me to take rest. They say I am old and I should take care of myself. I will not stop my journey until I see our leader Stalin become the Chief Minister. During the period of our leader Kalaigar, I used to campaign in whichever constituency he contested from. In Chennai, I used to go to almost all constituencies and campaign for my party. Earlier, I used to walk, but now I take a bus,” he said.

Tamizharasan’s father held a senior position in the Dravidar Kazhagam party founded by social reformer EV Ramasamy aka Periyar. Tamizharasan says it was Periyar who named him during one of his meetings in his village.

Explaining how he plans the campaigns, Tamizharasan said, “I go through the constituency list and plan my bus route accordingly. I reach the election booth, register myself and begin my campaigning. I have a megaphone speaker that I use. I have been doing these by myself and have never asked for any money from the party.”

Tamizharasan is accompanied by Anbazhagan in some of the meetings. Anbazhagan, a native of Salem, is also an ardent DMK cadre. He is an electrician who never misses a DMK rally. He says Aringar Anna named him during one of his visits to his constituency in 1960.

A poster made by Tamizharasan. (Express Photo)

“At the age of five, I had spoken at one of the DMK rallies asking people to vote for them. My relationship with the DMK grew from there,” he said, while showing some old photographs and paper clippings he had saved in a diary which he has been carrying for several years.

Anbazhagan’s family also supports him, but with the condition that he should not speak about politics once he steps inside his house. His wife is an ardent AIADMK supporter.

“She is part of the women’s wing of AIADMK. During the elections, we go for our respective meetings. During our engagement itself, I told her that politics is the most important thing of my life and even she said the same to me. So, there was no problem at all. In the beginning, we found it difficult with young children, but now they are all grown up and so there is no problem” he said while sporting a smile.

Both the men are confident that the MK Stalin-led DMK alliance will sweep the elections this year.

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