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Updated: February 4, 2014 11:42 IST

DMK decision on electoral politics taken at 1956 Tiruchi meet

Syed Muthahar Saqaf
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DMK party founder C.N.Annadurai.
The Hindu Archives
DMK party founder C.N.Annadurai.

Lakhs of cadre voted for contesting general election

Tiruchi city has a special place in the history of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and it hopes that the upcoming Tiruchi conference will witness a turnaround in the party’s fortunes. It was at the second State conference in Tiruchi from May 17 to 20, 1956 that the DMK took the significant decision of jumping into electoral fray. The leadership and cadre were then in a dilemma over contesting the second general election scheduled in 1957.

The DMK, then only a three-year-old organisation, decided against participating in the first general election in 1952 to express its opposition to the drafting of the Constitution without ascertaining the views of the ‘Dravidians.''

Party founder C. N. Annadurai wanted to feel the pulse of the public on contesting the second general election during the second State conference at Tiruchi. Separate ‘ballot boxes’ were placed at the entrances of the conference venue. Each entrance sported two boxes, one favouring the contest and the other rejecting the idea. The visiting partymen were directed to express their views.

The ‘ballots’ were counted at the conference dais before the audience. While lakhs of cadre favoured a foray into the electoral fray, only a very few thousand ‘ballots’ opposed the idea. Encouraged by the verdict and having been satisfied over the self-evolved test, Anna made the historic announcement of DMK contesting the polls much to the delight of the party leaders and cadre alike. This decision marked a milestone for the DMK.

Thus, the Tiruchi decision was responsible for unseating the Congress regime in a phased manner, though it was a decade-long battle for the DMK to capture power in the State in 1967. Soon, the party conducted meetings to explain to the people the decision taken at the conference.

The DMK did put up candidates in the Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the 1957 elections. The DMK emerged victorious in 15 Assembly seats and two Parliamentary constituencies. Notable among those who entered the Assembly were Annadurai (Kancheepuram), K. Anbazhagan (Egmore), M. Karunanidhi (Kulithalai), A. V. P. Asaithambi (Thousand Lights) and Sathiavanimuthu (Perambur). V. R. Nedunchezhian (Salem), poet Kannadasan (Tirukkottiyur), S. S. Rajendran (Theni) and Anbil Dharmalingam (Lalgudi) were among the losers.

In the 1962 elections, the DMK’s strength in the Assembly rose to 50 and in the next elections held in 1967 it captured power in the state.


Don't write such emotional elegies. After all we have the habit of
writing flattering comments after a man's death/remembrance .Anna too
was opportunistic nevertheless he was a charismatic & honest individual
unlike MK.One must not forget his "Adaindhal Dravida naadu illayel
Sudugadu" . Jayakanthan's take on dravida politicians was so neutral and

from:  sai raghu
Posted on: Feb 5, 2014 at 14:34 IST

A prolific writer, orator and debater, Anna took the Tamil world by
storm. Those who have read his famous books and write-up and articles
on politics would fall for more from him to enjoy Anna. A reservoir of
immense wisdom, Anna was truly wedded to Tamil language. His knowledge
in Tamil literature can only be compared to the depths of oceans we
know. Unfortunately, today those who live by his name and image are
doing everything to wreck Anna's fame in their lust for political power
and illicit wealth they sap from the same politics they manipulate in
mean ways.

Not for nothing that two million legs walked behind his body carried to
his burial ground in the Chennai Marina. This great son will live in
immortality in the minds and thoughts of all who speak Tamil language
and love it and live for it. The library in his fond memory in Chennai
should not be allowed to be destroyed by those who run political
business houses in the fair name of Anna, the man who is one with Tamil

from:  Vembadiyan
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 18:45 IST

Anna was a master craftsman in the art and science of politics. He was
a known anti-Brahmin Dravidian leader. He did what even Chanakya had
not thought of in his Book of Politics to weed out political enemies.
That, Anna took the hands of a Brahmin in Rajaji to kill two birds with
a single Dravidian political stone. He took Rajaji's Swatantra Party in
his alliance for election in 1967 and won hands down routing out
Congress and later Hindi and the age old supremacy of Brahmins in the
governance and administration in the State of Tamil Nadu from then on.
The shrewd politician in Anna was an inch taller than any to even make
the King Maker in K. Kamaraj bite dust in his home constituency,
Virudhunagar. The greatest of Anna's achievement was the paving of ways
to bring up the downtrodden and the socially suppressed mass of people
to become educationally strong and enlightened. But for Anna's reign in
TN politics, his writings and name, TN would not have been what it is
today. Enough said.

from:  C. Sachidananda Narayanan
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 18:25 IST

Today Anna's image and his famous name are used by the most corrupt
politicians on business and trading purpose. Anna never went to temples
to perform pooja or any Hindu religious rites. But, those who carry his
name in flags and post shamelessly go against that Dravidian ethics and
the principles of Anna. They are even ready to destroy and demolish the
famous library in his memory in Chennai to wipe Anna's name out. Worst,
such enemies of Dravidian ethos go out to drink honey in the moonlight
of the nationalist Hindu BJP in their ridiculous thirst for political
power to amass their personal wealth and for their stooges falling at
their feet shamelessly.

from:  Sambu
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 15:51 IST

There is no doubt CNA was a man of great caliber who did not get much time to rule the state. His speech in Rajya Sabha brought us much joy as here was a Tamil who wanted to be counted as good mannered Indian with a cause. but there is other side of CN Annadurai-he paved to way to destroy the deep respect Tamils had for its Tamil language preserved by the Bhakthi Ilakkiyam for centuries . BY decrying Tamil gods and poetry based on Bhakthi, he did incalculable damage to the language. by laughing at Kamban, then DMK made us all sad. The language has not recovered. The flowery dialogue based Tamil of DMK (Adukkumozhi) has died an rarely we see any young person in TN speak good Tamil.

from:  t p sampath
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 15:49 IST

The Great ANNA was a Super Leader to the core. Unfortunately, today...

from:  moonsamy
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 14:59 IST

The DMK was formed in 1949. it is wrong to state that the party was just three years
old in 1956.

Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 14:29 IST

I think, this time DMK Trichy meet will decide that they will stop
electoral politics as they don't have any support!!!

from:  easwara moorthi
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 13:49 IST

I had recently finished reading the book: The life and times of CN Annadurai. What a person he is and what determination he had. I got motivated reading about the Dravidian politics. I am deeply disturbed that non of the current Dravidian parties follow the principles laid out by the founders. Everone has used the party for his personal benefit and now we are in this crossroad of Tiruchi conference.

from:  Alagurajan Karunakaran
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 12:59 IST

That DMK with all its idealism and a leader like C.N.Annadhurai has
long evaporated. Anna never groomed his children to power and was a
great man who cared for the people. The DMK under Karuna is another
story altogether. AIADMK lodged by MGR was the offshoot with idealism
of Anna. It is appropriate that AIADMK be considered the logical
outcome of that original DMK. Unfortunately the name DMK has been
usurped by Karuna like the name Congress is usurped by the Gandhi clan
and both are allies and partners in creating a dynastic rule in their
areas of control. Anyone opposed to the family are unwelcome even if
they carry the family name Sanjay Gandhi and Azhagiri.

from:  S.Balakrishnans
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 12:53 IST

Wish Anna would have lived longer and implemented all the great ideals
he stood for. Unlucky and Unfortunate Tamilnadu.

from:  Arasu
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 12:10 IST

This time nothing will happen...

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Feb 4, 2014 at 12:00 IST
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