When even MGR couldn’t over­come magic of Two Leaves sym­bol

Sunday Express - - SUNDAY STORY - PRABHAKAR T @ Coim­bat­ore

The fra­ter­nal feud in AIADMK has en­tered the last and most cru­cial phase. The fac­tions are mak­ing a des­per­ate at­tempt to cap­ture the name, flag, and more im­por­tantly, the sym­bol. The last-ditch ef­fort by Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Min­is­ter O Pan­neer­sel­vam on the one side and ousted deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary TTV Dhi­nakaran on the other, is un­der­stand­able.

For, even party founder MG Ra­machan­dran, who trans­formed his on­screen charisma into ac­tual vote bank, could not en­sure the vic­tory of his can­di­date af­ter an­other par­ty­man got the sym­bol due to an in­ter­nal mix-up five decades ago. That too af­ter the lat­ter stayed away from cam­paign­ing as di­rected by an an­gry MGR.

It was in 1977, the year when the AIADMK was gear­ing up for its first State As­sem­bly elec­tion. Ahead of nom­i­na­tions, in the morn­ing dailies, R Ayy­achamy was an­nounced as the party’s can­di­date for Dhara­pu­ram con­stituency, then in Erode dis­trict. Hours later, how­ever, when the evening pa­pers hit the stands, RK Balakr­ish­nan was de­clared as the can­di­date as per party gen­eral sec­re­tary MGR’s di­rec­tion.

Even af­ter this, Ayy­achamy man­aged to ob­tain the au­tho­ri­sa­tion let­ter from the party, us­ing which he filed nom­i­na­tion as the AIADMK can­di­date. Bal- akr­ish­nan, too, en­tered the field, but with­out the au­tho­ri­sa­tion, he was con­sid­ered as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date.

“My fa­ther had the sup­port of MGR, who had in­structed the party cadre to en­sure that he won the elec­tion. But there were very few who backed him. If I re­mem­ber my fa­ther’s words right, Ayy­achamy did not even cam­paign for him­self in

that elec­tion,” Balakr­ish­nan’s son RKB Kutty alias Karu­panasamy told Ex­press.

Re­call­ing the strange episode, Ayy­achamy said he won with­out even cam­paign­ing, de­spite op­po­si­tion from MGR, only be­cause of the Two Leaves sym­bol. It was the lo­cal party cadre who asked him to file nom­ina- tion as the party can­di­date. Af­ter his name was an­nounced, a party func­tionary told him Tha­laivar (MGR) had asked him to meet him in Madu­rai dur­ing a party con­fer­ence. How­ever, Aruchamy, a lo­cal func­tionary asked him not to meet MGR and said that he would have a word with the leader. “Af­ter the Madu­rai con­fer­ence, Tha­laivar passed a mes­sage through party men, in­sist­ing not to cam­paign for the elec­tion in or­der to en­sure Balakr­ish­nan’s vic­tory. So with due re­spect to his word, I did not cam­paign,” Ayy­achamy said. Irked over the is­sue, MGR stayed away from Dhara­pu­ram dur­ing his cam­paign tour. As re­sults came, Ayy­achamy emerged the win­ner, de­feat­ing Congress can­di­date AK Shivalingam by 2,682 votes. Balakr­ish­nan, MGR’s own can­di­date, was not even in the reck­on­ing. “I won the elec­tion only be­cause of the Two Leaves sym­bol. It was the time when any­one who con­tested on the sym­bol could win,” Ayy­achamy added. If MGR him­self could not get his can­di­date to win against the Two Leaves sym­bol, it is un­der­stand­able that the present claimants are des­per­ate. It is the trump card in a party miss­ing its mas­cot.

SAAI

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