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Karunanidhi Gives Rare 'Darshan' to DMK Cadre, Sets Off Comeback Buzz

DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi has been out of political action for around a year. He was last seen in public when he was discharged from a hospital on December 23 last year.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:October 19, 2017, 11:28 PM IST
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Karunanidhi Gives Rare 'Darshan' to DMK Cadre, Sets Off Comeback Buzz
DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and the party’s working president MK Stalin are seen next to a life-size statue of the former at Murasoli office in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo b Murasoli Office)
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Chennai: DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi made an unannounced public visit on Thursday evening at an exhibition to commemorate party organ Murasoli, prompting excited party workers to speculate on the Dravidian leader’s comeback.

The 94-year-old has been out of political action for around a year. He was last seen in public when he was discharged from a hospital on December 23 last year, 18 days after the death of then chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

When party workers spotted Karunanidhi sitting in his wheelchair, chants of 'Thalaivar' echoed at the venue.

Amid speculation on his health, Karunanidhi’s sudden appearance energized party cadre who quickly made a beeline for his Gopalapuram residence. Hearing the raucous calls from his supporters, Karunanidhi managed to raise his hand as a sign of acknowledgment, but couldn't say anything.

DMK leader M Karunanidhi outside the Murasoli office in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo by Murasoli Office)

DMK leader M Karunanidhi outside the Murasoli office in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo by Murasoli Office)

The former chief minister was fitted with a tracheostomy tube last December and was advised to keep indoors and restrict the number of visitors. Since then, he was has been off the political map.

Even at the landmark function where his son MK Stalin was elevated as the Working President of the DMK, Karunanidhi was only talked about, not seen.

The DMK patriarch was also missing at his 93rd birthday celebrations at YMCA grounds in Chennai, though party leaders kept hoping he would make an appearance.

DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at the Murasoli office in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo by Murasoli Office)

DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at the Murasoli office in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo by Murasoli Office)

Talking to reporters, Karunanidhi's doctor Gopal said: "There is a possibility that he may get back his ability to speak."

Karunanidhi's reappearance in public serves as a check to the political notion that Tamil Nadu politics is going through a void after the death of Jayalalithaa.

But, is Karunanidhi really back?

According to analyst Sumanth C Raman, "This is definitely a morale booster for party cadre, but we need to wait and watch before we can say he is back in active politics."

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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