The Legacy of Vijayakanth: Action Hero Turned Political Maverick

The Legacy of Vijayakanth: Action Hero Turned Political Maverick

28th December 2023 0 By rahul6743r
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Vijayakanth’s indelible imprint on Tamil Nadu’s history as a dynamic leader who carved his path to success resonates, symbolizing an 18-year dominance in the political landscape.

From being an iconic figure in Tamil cinema known for his crusade against corruption to his seamless transition into politics, Vijayakanth’s meteoric rise fueled aspirations of seeing him ascend to the position of Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister. However, his aspirations were curtailed by deteriorating health, leaving his followers and ardent admirers in mourning.

While Vijayakanth’s wife, Premalatha, the present DMDK general secretary, faces the challenge of steering his party, Vijayakanth’s legacy remains etched in Tamil Nadu’s political and film realms. His courageous stance against former Chief Ministers M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa demonstrated his independent approach, holding his ground against these political stalwarts.

Dubbed ‘Karuppu MGR’ (‘Black MGR’), Vijayakanth’s unique journey encapsulates a saga of individual triumph, reigning over politics for nearly two decades. Despite his ailing health in recent times, his Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), founded in 2005, has persevered as a regional party, once hailed by political entities like the AIADMK and BJP as a formidable opposition force.

Recognized for his roles in over 200 Tamil films and his unwavering fight against corruption, Vijayakanth maintained an unblemished image and was known for his philanthropy and generosity. His stint as Leader of the Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly bore promises of steering the party to victory until his withdrawal from the AIADMK alliance.

His last public appearance on December 14 marked the election of Premalatha as DMDK’s general secretary, emphasizing continuity amidst transition.

Born into the Telugu-speaking Naidu community, Vijayakanth was revered as the epitome of Tamil identity, earning the moniker ‘Karuppu MGR’ in contrast to the fair complexion of AIADMK’s M G Ramachandran. His political tenure included a stint as Leader of the Opposition and two terms as MLA, representing Virudhachalam and Rishivandiyam constituencies.

Renowned as an action hero, Vijayakanth earned titles like ‘Captain’ after his hundredth film ‘Captain Prabhakaran’ and ‘Puratchi Kalaignar.’ Blockbusters like ‘Vaanathai Pola,’ ‘Ramana,’ ‘Vallarasu,’ ‘Simmasanam,’ ‘Vaanchinathan,’ and ‘Narasimha’ captivated audiences and fetched state and national awards.

Establishing the DMDK in 2005, Vijayakanth self-funded his party, shunning external financial support. His alliances with political entities like the BJP and AIADMK showcased his strategic prowess, securing victories in elections and temporarily filling the political vacuum created by the DMK’s defeat.

However, conflicts led to fissures within alliances, impacting Vijayakanth’s political trajectory. Despite setbacks, his contributions extended beyond cinema and politics, founding ‘Captain TV’ and an engineering college.

In a gesture of goodwill during the COVID-19 pandemic, he offered his Andal Alagar Engineering College and the expansive DMDK party office to the state government for transforming into special COVID-19 hospitals.

Vijayakanth’s life journey epitomized resilience, carving a legacy beyond acting and politics, emblematic of a leader who made an indelible mark on Tamil Nadu’s social and political fabric. PTI JSP SS

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