The High Court decision on having the Karunanidhi Memorial come up at Anna Memorial is a victory for the DMK in the decades-old battle with the AIADMK. Just as the news broke, M K Stalin, Kanimozhi as well as A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran were seen breaking into tears at Rajaji Memorial where Karunanidhi’s body had been kept for the public to pay homage. The row over Kalaignar Memorial is actually a case of shadow boxing over which party can claim to be the Dravidian/Anna legacy, the DMK or the AIADMK. This is a continuation of the 42-year-old battle between the two parties ever since MGR was ousted, and he went on to launch the Anna DMK. MGR used a picture of Anna in the AIADMK flag. Karunanidhi countered him by saying that the DMK was founded by Anna.
While the DMK projected the triumvirate of Periyar, Anna and Karunanidhi in the party hoardings and banners, the AIADMK showcased the triumvirate of Periyar, Anna and MGR initially, and later Anna, MGR and Jayalalithaa. The Marina was projected by the AIADMK as a miniature of the AIADMK triumvirate. Lakhs of people visit the samadhis of the triumvirate here.
Providing the Kalaignar memorial at Marina, that too next to the Anna memorial, would alter the AIADMK projection of the Dravidian /Anna legacy as appropriated by the AIADMK.
Providing the Kalaignar memorial there, that too next to the Anna memorial, would alter the AIADMK projection of the Dravidian /Anna legacy as appropriated by the AIADMK. Therefore, the AIADMK didn’t want the political equation to be disturbed, that too in favour of its arch rival, the DMK.
The combination of the Anna and Kalaignar legacy would project the DMK as the inheritor of the Dravidian /Anna legacy, and overshadow the MGR and Jayalalithaa samadhis. This is at the crux of the row now.
Karunanidhi had two wishes, as expressed by him: He hoped that a Tamil Eelam would be formed; second, he wished to be buried at a spot next to Anna. The Eelam dream has vanished. The DMK hopes that at least his second wish is fulfilled, a Kalaignar memorial next to the Anna memorial.
As the hearing began at the Madras High Court in the morning, petitions filed by lawyer Doraiswamy, Balu of PMK and Traffic Ramaswamy against Jayalalithaa memorial on the beach were dismissed by the Madras High Court after the petitioners withdrew their petitions on August 7 night. The Tamil Nadu government had maintained its stand that it has decided to earmark a two-acre site near Gandhi Mandapam for the Kalaignar memorial, and that the memorial cannot come up on the Marina. It argued that the decision relates to government policy and cannot be litigated. The DMK asked that Karunanidhi should be buried with full respect and dignity, and that there is no legal tangle.
On Tuesday night, the DMK had officially sought the setting up of Kalaignar Memorial next to Anna Memorial where the body of Karunanidhi could be buried. However, the Tamil Nadu government had announced that such a memorial cannot be put up on the beach since there were petitions against setting up memorials on the beach and legal issues as well. Therefore, the government had said that it was ready to provide the space on a two-acre plot near Gandhi Mandapam on Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel Road in Guindy.
Late on Tuesday night, it moved a petition that was heard by acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Mr. Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh andJustice S.S. Sundar. The hearing was postponed to Wednesday morning to hear the government side give details on the legal obstacles, as mentioned in the government press release on Tuesday night.
The DMK side had pointed out that the objections were overcome in the case of the Jayalalithaa memorial by putting it up within the MGR memorial complex. At that time, a Chennai Corporation license issued by the commissioner had said that there were no objections on grounds of threats to public health. It had facilitated the construction of Jaya memorial on the site of MGR memorial.