M.Karunanidhi’s political career

M. Karunanidhi, or Kalaignar had the distinction of serving as the longest serving party president, crossing a milestone in the country’s political history on July 27 when he became the first leader to serve 50 years as president of a party.

Lets take a quick look at his mile stones!


M. Karunanidhi launched his political career by leading an anti-Hindi protest as a 14-year-old school boy in Tiruvarur in 1938. The poem written by him for the occasion is still recalled by DMK men.

Maanavanesan, was his first manuscript magazine, a predecessor to Murasoli, the official organ of the DMK.


Though he eventually became an icon of the Dravidian movement and the undisputed leader of the DMK, he was not in Royapuram’s Robinson Park on September 17, 1949, the day the DMK was launched.


During the Second Assembly elections held on 31st March 1957, He was elected to the Assembly from Kulithalai state assembly constituency  for the first time.


During the Third Assembly elections held on 21st February 1962, He won from Tanjavur constituency and became Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The party won 50 seats out of 143.


During the Fourth Assembly elections held on February 1967, He won from Saidapet constituency and became the State Minister of Public Works. The party won 138 seats out of 233


During the Fourth Assembly, held on February 9, 1969, He was Elected the legislative party leader of the DMK, becomes Chief Minister and also becomes the President of DMK later at July 27, 1969 which makes this year remarkable for him!


During the Fifth Assembly  elections held on March 1971 He contested and won from Saidapet Constituency for the second time. The party created history by winning 184 Assembly constituencies and he continued to be the Chief Minister.


On January 31, 1976,  DMK government dismissed after the Emergency.


During the Sixth Assembly elections held on 10th June 1977, He contested and won from Anna Nagar and became the Leader of Opposition. The party won 48 seats out of 233


During the Seventh Assembly elections held on 28th May 1980, He again contested and won from Anna Nagar and continued as the Leader of Opposition. The party won 37 seats out of 112.

In this election, he tied up with the Congress, which dismissed his government in 1976, in the Lok Sabha elections and got the M.G. Ramachandran government sacked. The same year he parted with 50% of the seats to the Congress in the Assembly elections but the alliance came a cropper and MGR won.


During the Eighth Assembly elections held on 24th December 1984 – This is the only time which M. Karunanidhi did not contest since 1957 until his death.


During the Ninth Assembly elections held on 21st January 1989, He contested in the Harbour Constituency, won.  Becomes the CM again after 13 years, following MGR’s death. The party won 150 seats out of 202

Despite the drubbing in the 1989 Lok Sabha election, he also managed to get a Cabinet berth for his nephew Murasoli Maran in the National Front government headed by V.P. Singh.


DMK government dismissed on January 30, 1991 followed by the Tenth Assembly Elections held on 24th June 1991. In the re-election M.Karunanidhi contested again in Harbour constituency and won. The part won only 2 seats out of 176 as a result of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.


During the Eleventh Assembly elections held on 2nd May 1996,  he formed alliance with the Tamil Maanila Congress — a Congress splinter group headed by G.K. Moopanar, contested in Chepauk constituency, won and becomes the Chief Minister for the fourth time. He joined the Deve Gowda-led United Front government at the Centre.


Karunanidhi joined hands with the BJP and became a part of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.


During the Twelfth Assembly elections held on 10th May 2001, he continued to contest at Chepauk constituency for the second time and won. The party won 31 seats out of 183.


Tied up with the Congress and secured a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The alliance continued in 2009.


During the Thirteenth Assembly elections held on 08th May 2006, he continued to contest at Chepauk constituency for the third time. won and becomes the Chief Minister for the fifth time. The party won 96 seats out 132.


During the Fourteenth Assembly elections held on 13th April 2011, he contested in his home town Thiruvarur and won. The party won 23 seats of 124.


Goes it alone in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and loses.


During the Fifteenth Assembly elections held on 16th May 2016, he continued to contest in his home town Thiruvarur and won. The party won 89 seats of 176. DMK becomes the largest Opposition party in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

M. Karunanidhi was the only Chief Minister in the State whose government was dismissed twice — during the Emergency in 1976 and in 1991 — by invoking Article 356. He created a record by winning all 13 Assembly polls he contested since 1957.

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