ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: A Chronicle of the DMK Split

Vol IX, No 13         MARCH 30, 1974

Matters within the DMK came to a head on October 11, 1972, when the DMK Treasurer, 
M G Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR), was suspended from the primary membership of the party. 26 out of 32 members of the DMK’s Executive Council signed a memorandum demanding disciplinary action against MGR for his vehement criticism of the party leadership. But MGR was no common, garden variety of politician but a leading film-star and thus a more ‘genuine’ idol of millions than any of his erstwhile brothers in the DMK ranks. He was in his own way instrumental for the astounding successes of the party first in the 1967 elections and then in the 1971 elections. According to Kuldip Nayar, the conflict began in March 1971 when MGR reportedly pressed his claims for a berth in the state cabinet. Karunanidhi hedged on the ground that the rules of conduct did not allow for a minister who would combine a film career with an executive job. From then on, MGR tried to strengthen his hold on the party with the help of his ‘MGR Manrams’ (fan clubs). The other personal reason for Karunanidhi’s ire against MGR was the latter’s popularity and mass base. The MGR Manrams and MGR Rasigar Manrams claimed a membership of three lakhs against the DMK’s total membership of six lakhs. Karunanidhi, therefore, tried to project his son, M K Muthu, as an alternative to MGR before the film-loving party masses. It was alleged that attempts were made to convert thousands of MGR Manrams into manrams named after the Chief Minister’s son and naturally MGR resented these efforts.

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Published On : 29th Mar, 2024

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