MK bows to Big Temple jinx

Facing a crucial Assembly elections in about seven months from now, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister played it safe by entering the ‘Big Temple’ on Saturday for its millennium year celebrations from a side entrance in the North.

A special make-shift entrance with permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had been provided for the 87-year-old Karunanidhi, an avowed skeptic in religious matters, to enter the temple in his battery-driven mini-car to participate in the celebrations.

The jinx was related to the fate that befell former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had visited the ‘Big Temple’ in 1984 for a celebration to commemorate the great Chola King along with former TN Chief Minister M G Ramachandran. Shortly later that year, Gandhi was killed by her own bodyguards in Delhi, while MGR fell seriously ill from which he never fully recovered.

While Karunanidhi, who now moves about in a wheel chair, has big electoral stakes ahead and will not wish to jeopardise his health condition in any way, he still sought to balance his “rationalist image” with the organisers consciously designing the stage for the valedictory of the ‘Big Temple’s’ millennium celebrations on Sunday, on the temple’s model. But the second function itself was organised at a different venue, quite far from the temple.

Defensive

However, one of the senior DMK Ministers and Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi came to Karunanidhi’s defence on this issue.

“Our leader was dissuaded by many not to attend the function connected with Raja Raja Cholan, but Kalaignar Karunanidhi being a stout follower of the rationalist leader Periyar, ignored them all and still participated in this function to mark the Big Temple’s 1,000th year,” Ponmudi said, giving a stamp of respectability for his leader’s action.

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