Annadurai a role model: Pranab

 
“He (Annadurai) continues to be a role model for young politicians even today,” Mukherjee said at a glittering function at the Madras University Centenary auditorium after releasing a Rs 5 commemorative coin to mark the culmination of the Annadurai Centenary Celebrations.

When the Congress lost power in nine states in 1967, including Tamil Nadu, where Anna’s leadership got a ‘massive mandate’, the Congress also lost “what was considered to be the natural right of governance” at  the Centre and the States, he said.

But it was only in Tamil  Nadu that the DMK then got a “clear, decisive majority” under Annadurai’s stewardship, while in the other States it was a coalition of non-Congress parties that had defeated the Congress then, Mukherjee said, adding, “since then it is only a Dravidian party that is getting a mandate in Tamil Nadu.” This was notwithstanding the latest coalition in which DMK and Congress shared power at the Centre and the state.

Mukherjee said he was making this aspect clear as the basic political philosophy underlying the DMK’s successful social engineering was the need to “respond to the aspirations of the downtrodden people”.

Stabilising factor

“Unless they (downtrodden) are recognised and inspired, electoral victory cannot be a stabilising factor in the social transformation,” Mukherjee said, to drive home how the DMK after Annadurai had seen eye to eye with progressive Congress policies like bank nationalisation.

Paying rich tributes to the multi-faceted Annadurai, who was as much an astute politician as an excellent Parliamentarian, gifted speaker and writer, Mukherjee said: “Tamil Nadu is a very important State for every finance minister,” in the presence of Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi.

Though its population was only six per cent of India’s population, Tamil Nadu’s contribution to the national GDP and consequently to the Central revenues, was very significant, he noted. By “honouring a great son of India like Annadurai, we are honouring ourselves,” Mukherjee added.

Karunanidhi, who renewed Annadurai’s call on the occasion for achieving full State autonomy, released a special souvenir. Noted Tamil scholar and Finance Minister, Prof K Anbazhagan, received the first copy.

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