All roads to Chennai’s Kavery Hospital have been blocked. DMK President M Karunanidhi was admitted to the ICU of the hospital at 1.30 a.m on Saturday after his blood pressure dropped. Family members, DMK party workers, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam have visited the 94-year-old veteran politician at the hospital, while the crowd outside the hospital swelled with anxious party cadres and supporters of the Kalaignar.
Chief Minister Edappadi.K. Palaniswami on Monday morning said that Karunanidhi is recovering well.
— ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2018
On Sunday evening, the crowd outside the hospital got agitated when news about Karunanidhi’s deteriorating health spread. The hospital then released a medical bulletin stating, “With active medical support, his vital signs are normalising. He continues to be closely monitored and treated by the panel of expert doctors.”
Chief Minister Palaniswami cancelled his events in Salem and rushed back to Chennai at around 1 am. O. Panneerselvam was also spotted at the hospital on Monday morning.
Supporters from all over Tamil Nadu have gathered outside the hospital to enquire about their leader’s health. The Chennai Police had to resort to lathi charge late Sunday night to disperse the crowd, but that hasn’t deterred Thalaivar’s well-wishers to come back on Monday morning and keep vigil outside the hospital in Alwarpet.
One such supporter is Balu, a 56-year-old restaurant employee who has come from Tiruchirappalli. “I want my Thalaivar back. I left my family and came all the way from Trichy just to see him. I have been disturbed ever since he was admitted to the hospital,” he says.
Selvamani, the vice-secretary of DMK Coimbatore (North Wing) had reached Chennai at midnight. He says, “It doesn’t matter if Kalaignar is unable to talk. It is enough if he remains alive and sits among us. He is the one who fought for equal rights for women in Tamil Nadu. I had to come after I learned that he has been admitted to the hospital. He should always be the Sun and be the President of the DMK for 100 more years. We need our Thalaivar to come back.”
Muthu Ganesh, a farmer from Dharmapuri district, says that he was ready to sacrifice his life for Thalaivar. “I have been outside the hospital since the past three days. All I want is to just see him. His policies and governance were like sunshine. We are sure that he won’t leave us. Karma will save him surely.”
Chinnamal, who was elected as the counsellor in Madurai central constituency twice, tells Silverscreen: “It was Kalaignar who named my son 44 years back, when I had nothing in my hand. I want him to stay alive. My son is in Apollo Hospital due to kidney problems, but I had to come and see Thalaivar. I will not leave this place without seeing him.”
The crowd have been getting restless outside. Apart from the chief minister, the DMK leaders have appealed to the crowd gathered in front of the hospital to maintain peace. Security outside the hospital and in Chennai have been tightened. The police are on alert.
Karunanidhi was earlier undergoing treatment at his Gopalapuram residence for fever due to urinary tract infection. DMK working president and Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Stalin through a statement had said that his father was responding to treatment and his condition was stable. “There was an unexpected setback in his (Karunanidhi) health but after intense medical care, he’s normalising,” Stalin said through the statement.
Things took a turn when Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital on Saturday following a drop in blood pressure.
Meanwhile, visitors continue to pour in at the hospital. DMK platform orator and talk show moderator Dindigul Leoni tells Silverscreen, “I am happy to hear that Kalaignar is getting well. He is fighting against Yaman and we are sure he will defeat him and meet his supporters at Arivalayam. Supporters need not worry about him.”
Sivakumar came along with his son to visit Karunanidhi.
“This is the first time we have been allotted kind of work. People are cursing us for stopping them. They say that we work for the ruling party (AIADMK) but the truth is we work for people,” says one of the cops outside the hospital.
More pictures here: Actors, Politicians, Party Cadres Visit Ailing DMK President
(With inputs from Rajeshwari Manikandan and photos by Dani Charles)