K. Anbazhagan recently addressed a series of meetings in Delta region

Defying age, K. Anbazhagan, 92, general secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), addressed a series of election meetings in Tiruchi and Perambalur Lok Sabha constituencies on Saturday and Sunday, drawing from his rich experience to drive home the significance of the Dravidian movement for socio economic liberation of weaker sections.

The “Perasiriyar” is probably the senior-most political leader in the country to campaign in the Lok Sabha elections. His contemporary in this aspect is none other than the party president M. Karunanidhi.

One of the founding leaders of the DMK, the nonagenarian was among the 15 party men elected to the State Assembly in the 1957 elections when the party jumped into the poll fray.

Since then, he has been a regular at the hustings and a star campaigner for the DMK.

Like Mr. Karunanidhi, Mr. Anbazhagan too entered the political arena at a young age.

Mr. Karunanidhi had invited him to address a meeting organised by Ilaignar Manram in Tiruvarur when he was still a student of Annamalai University in the 1940s. Since then, the two have been maintaining close rapport without even minor skirmishes, recalls eighty-year-old Aranthangi R. Rajan, a close associate of both the leaders and chairman of the DMK Sotthu Padukappu Kuzhu (Property Protection Committee).

Mr. Anbazhagan, who has been the general secretary of DMK for a record 37 years on the trot, has been a source of strength for Mr. Karunanidhi and stood by him during trials and tribulations.

“Like Mr. Karunanidhi, Mr. Anbazhagan is also is a multi-faceted personality with brilliant memory power and powerful oratory skills. As the senior-most colleague, he has proved to be a solid pillar of support for Karunanidhi and has understood his importance for the fortune of the party,” Mr. Rajan, a resident of Aranthangi in Pudukottai town, recalls.

In the run-up to the current election, electioneering by Mr. Anbazhagan has been planned in such a way that a maximum number of cadres could be reached and galvanised since the tour schedule of Mr. Karunanidhi is restricted.

In a way, the DMK cadres can boast the advantage of canvassing by popular senior leaders who share the burden of party treasurer M. K. Stalin who is on a whirlwind tour.