DMK president M Karunanidhi, the party’s star campaigner, will restrict his canvassing to just four election meetings in major cities in Tamil Nadu, the party said on Friday. Karunanidhi, who underwent a spinal cord surgery earlier this year, is confined to a wheel chair and has been advised by doctors not to exert himself. The medical advice effectively means that he cannot embark on a barnstorming campaign the way he used to in the past.
The DMK headquarters said in a release that he would begin his poll campaign with a May Day public meeting in Tiruchi. He will address similar election meetings in Madurai (May 5), Coimbatore (May 8) and Chennai (May 11). Karunanidhi, who will complete 85 years in June, has been the party’s unquestioned campaign star over the years, crisscrossing the state on a long campaign trail, involving both public meetings and street corner meetings in different locations.
The party had a campaign vehicle designed to ensure his comfort and having medical facilities, taking his health condition into account. Even in his campaign for the 2006 Assembly elections, he travelled to several parts of the state, being helped on to the dais by associates. However, after his surgery, he has been advised to avoid such strenuous travelling. There is no word yet on whether Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will come to the state for campaigning. There was speculation that she would address joint meetings with Karunanidhi. However, intelligence officials are believed to have advised against her visiting TN for security reason. Some top state Congress leaders are trying to persuade her to campaign for them, party sources said.