After years of political association, Rahul Gandhi visits Karunanidhi for the first time, while in hospital

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The vice-president of Congress has avoided appealing to the head of DMK on several occasions, notably following the 2G scam.

The DMK and the Congress are however long-standing allies, the vice-president of the Congress Rahul Gandhi never visited the patriarch of the DMK M Karunanidhi before Saturday. Rahul Gandhi went to Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, where Karunanidhi has been admitted since Thursday. The visit comes a day after the 92-year-old leader underwent a tracheostomy to optimize breathing. He had been hospitalized Thursday evening following breathing difficulties due to an infection of the throat and lungs.

Karunanidhi undergoes a tracheostomy a day after his hospitalization

He was accompanied by senior congressional leaders P Chidambaram, EVKS Elangovan and state congressman Thirunavukkarasar. Also present were the treasurer of the DMK, the deputy Stalin, the deputy of Rajya Sabha Kanimozhi and the high leader Durai Murugan. Shortly after his 15-minute visit, Rahul Gandhi told reporters: “I personally wanted to wish him a speedy recovery. I was happy to see that he was doing well. The doctors told me he was recovering and would be going home soon. , the President of the Congress also addresses him his greetings. So, this is good news. He is a leader of the dynamic people of Tamil Nadu, so I thought I would come and wish him personally. ”

Rahul Gandhi’s visit on Saturday will reduce resentment among DMK cadres, who have been upset that the Congress leader has never paid a courtesy visit to Karunanidhi despite the two parties being longtime allies.

The last time the two leaders met was at 2009 when Karunanidhi, as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, visited New Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections.

As of September 2009, Rahul Gandhi had been in Tamil Nadu for three days as part of his plan to revitalize the State Congress. He avoided visiting Karunanidhi, however, with congressional leaders saying at the time that Rahul Gandhi was in TN as an MP and did not normally call on allies in other states. A very upset DMK then condemned Rahul Gandhi for not respecting a political veteran like Karunanidhi.

Since then, the vice president of Congress has kept his distance from the head of DMK, sending a clear political message in the wake of the 2G scam.

In the 2016 parliamentary elections, Rahul Gandhi never shared the stage with Karunanidhi, although the DMK insisted to the media for this to happen.

He did, however, share the stage with the treasurer of the DMK, MP Stalin in Madurai and with Rajya MP Sabha Kanimozhi in Coimbatore on May 8 for the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Interestingly, Congress President Sonia Gandhi maintained close ties with Karunanidhi, sharing the stage with him on several occasions, including in May 2016 before the elections.

The Congressional Scion’s visit also comes months after his visit to the hospital of arch-rival Karunanidhi and former chief minister Jayalalithaa on October 7. , Karunanidhi the same day. His statement, “I have come from Delhi to lend my support and that of the President of Congress,” following his visit in October sparked speculation as to why he chose to call on Jayalalithaa. Neither Rahul nor his mother Sonia Gandhi share a political connection with Jayalalithaa, especially after the head of AIADMK accused the president of Congress of being a “Foreign import” in the run-up to the 2004 elections in Lok Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi had also paid tribute to Jayalalithaa after his disappearance, attending his funeral on December 6.

While political parties like the BJP and Congress hope to take advantage of the political vacuum after Jayalalithaa’s death, Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Kauvery hospital will for the time being rule out rumors of a rift between the DMK and Congress. .


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