Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

திராவிட முன்னேற்றக் கழகம்
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Leader M. Karunanidhi
Secretary-General K Anbazhagan
Lok Sabha leader NA[1]
Founder C.N.Annadurai
Headquarters Anna Arivalayam, Anna Salai, Chennai – 600018
Newspaper Murasoli & The Rising Sun
Labour wing Labour Progressive Federation
Ideology Social Democracy
Left-wing populism
Democratic socialism
Political position Centre-left
Colours Red
ECI Status State Party[2]

Indian National Congress(1984)

National Democratic Alliance (1999–2004)
United Progressive Alliance
Seats in Lok Sabha
0 / 545
Seats in Rajya Sabha
4 / 245
Election symbol

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) (lit. "Dravidian Progress Federation"[3]) is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai in 1949 as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam (known as Justice Party until 1944) headed by Periyar. Since 1969, DMK has been headed by Karunanidhi, who has served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu several times. DMK holds the distinction of being the first party other than the Indian National Congress to win state-level elections with a clear majority on its own in any state in India.


Justice Party

DMK traces its roots to the South Indian Liberal Federation (Justice Party) formed in 1916, by P. Thyagaraya Chetty, Dr. P.T. Rajan, Dr. C. Natesa Mudaliar and a few others. The Justice Party, whose objectives included social equality and justice, came to power in the first General Elections to the Madras Presidency in 1920.[4] E. V. Ramasami Naicker ("Periyar"), a popular Tamil reformist leader of the time, had joined Indian National Congress in 1919, to oppose what he considered the Brahminic leadership of the party.[5] Naicker's experience at the Vaikom Satyagraha made him to start the Self-Respect Movement in 1926 which was rationalistic and "anti-Brahministic".[6] He quit Congress and in 1935, he joined the Justice Party. In the 1937 elections, the Justice Party lost and the Indian National Congress under C. Rajagopalachari ("Rajaji") came to power in Madras Presidency. Rajaji's introduction of Hindi as a compulsory subject in schools led to the anti-Hindi agitations, led by Periyar and his associates.

Dravidar Kazhagam

In August 1944, Periyar created the 'Dravidar Kazhagham' out of the Justice Party and the Self-Respect Movement at the Salem Provincial Conference.[7] Dravidar Kazhagam, conceived as a movement and not a political party, insisted on an independent nation for Dravidians called Dravida Nadu consisting of areas that were covered under Madras Presidency.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Over the years, many disputes arose between Periyar and his followers. In 1949, several of his followers led by C. N. Annadurai, decided to split from Dravidar Kazhagham, after an aged periyar married a young woman Maniammai and appointed his young wife to act as his successor to lead the party, superseding senior party leaders. Until then E. V. K. Sampath, the nephew of Periyar, was considered his political heir.[8]

Annadurai, on 17 September 1949 along with Kudanthai K.K.Neelamegam, V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, K. A. Mathiazhagan, K. Anbazhagan, N. V. Natarajan, E. V. K. Sampath, and thousands of others in Robinson park in Royapuram in Chennai announced the formation of the DMK. The name of the party (DMK) was announced by Kudanthai Perunthagai. K. K. Neelamegam.

MGR's entry

In 1953, actor M. G. Ramachandran ("MGR") joined the DMK, popularised the party flag and symbol which at that time stood for secession from India by showing it in his movies. MGR was a member of the DMK, and he was seen as an icon of the DMK and spread its message through films like Adimaippenn and Namnadu.[9] DMK entered the electoral fray rather unsuccessfully in 1957 with even senior leader V. R. Nedunchezhiyan losing from Salem although M Karunanidhi won after initially having opposed all-Indian government and later supporting only those parties which promised to help its secession from India cause.Then in1962 another prominent actor S.S.Rajendran ("SSR") contested in Theni,legislative assembly election, against the then popular congress leader NRTheagarajan and won the seat.He is the first actor to become an MLA.


In 1967, DMK came to power in Madras province 18 years after its formation and 10 years after it had first entered electoral politics. This began the Dravidian era in Madras province which later became Tamil Nadu.

In 1969, party general secretary and founder, CN Annadurai died. After his death, there came the power tussle between M Karunanidhi and V. R. Nedunchezhiyan. Most of the elected MLAs of DMK, including leaders like Mathialagan, Nanjil Manoharan and the celluloid hero MGR favoured Karunanidhi as CM in preference to Nedunchezhiyan, the Senior leader after Anna. To pacify V. R. Nedunchezhiyan a new post called party president was created for M Karunanidhi and V. R. Nedunchezhiyan was the post of general secretary . MGR was appointed as the Treasurer of the Party.

During the Indian President election, there was divided opinion between the leaders of Indian National Congress. Though the party nominated Dr.Sanjiva Reddy as the Official Candidate, the then Prime Minister, Mrs.Indira Gandhi had suddenly switched her allegiance to Dr.V.V.Giri, the Opposition-sponsored Candidate. She had also advised all party elected members to vote according to their conscience. Dr.V.V.Giri was elected as the President of India with the support of Mrs.Indira Gandhi. This has resulted in the split of Congress Party and in October 1969. Senior Leaders like Morarji Desai, Athulya Ghosh, Kamarajar, S K Patil and Nijalingappa on the one side as Congress (Organisation) and Indira Gandhi, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Jagjivan Ram, C Subramaniam on the Other Side as Congress (Indira). The DMK, led by Mr.Karunanidhi took a stance to support Mrs.Indira Gandhi in certain reforms like abolition of privy purse, nationalisation of Banks.

In 1971 election, the DMK fought in alliance with Congress (Indira)and the Opposition alliance which consisted of the two Senior National Leaders, Rajaji and Kamarajar was termed as a strong alliance and was widely supported by Media to re-capture power in Tamil Nadu. However, the DMK emerged victorious with a vast majority of 184 seats out of 234 and Dr. Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi becoming the chief minister for second time. The Opposition Grand alliance could capture only 25 seats.

Karunanidhi's presidency

MGR's exit

M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) who was a popular actor and the then party treasurer had played a vital part in popularising the party's ideologies. The political feud between MGR and the party president Karunanidhi emerged as an aftermath of the latter calling himself "Mujib of Tamil Nadu". In 1972, MGR called for a boycott of the party's General Council. With the crisis falling into call for corruption probe by MGR, he was eventually suspended from the General Council. Thus emerged a new party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The new party ADMK had drubbed the parent party DMK in the by-election to the Loksabha seat at Dindugul in 1974.[10]


In 1977, DMK lost the Assembly elections to MGR's AIADMK, and stayed out of power in the state till 1989.[11] After MGR's death in December 1987, AIADMK split into two factions between Janaki (MGR's wife) and Jayalalithaa. DMK returned to power in 1989 State assembly elections and Karunanidhi took over as chief minister in January 1989.

1991 election was held on the backdrop of DMK government dissolved within 2 years of formation due to pressure from Rajiv gandhi, in the same year Rajiv was killed by Human bomb during election campaign. Due to DMK's pro Tamil stance and the dismissal of the state government mid way by Rajiv, people persumption was against DMK and the sympathy wave in favour of AIADMK–Congress alliance and the DMK was deprived of any seats in the Parliament.

In the 1996 state elections, DMK came to power on strength of corruption charges against J.Jayalalithaa and the alliance with Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), headed by G.K. Moopanar and supported by cine actor Rajinikanth. However, in 2001, the AIADMK, on strength of a strong alliance and the incumbency factor against DMK, came back to power in the state assembly elections.

In the 2004 parliamentary elections, DMK formed an alliance with Congress, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and swept a grand Victory, the alliance winning all 40 seats including Puducherry. This enabled 7 ministerial posts in the Central government and influential power to DMK.

Two years later in 2006, the same alliance won in the state assembly elections and the DMK, for the first time formed a minority government in the state with help from Congress. Mr. M Karunanidhi become the Chief Minister of the State for the fifth time. The DMK-Congress alliance was also successful in the 2009 parliamentary elections.

In the 2011 Assembly elections, held in the wake of the [2G scam] and allegations of nepotism, the DMK won only 23 seats, 127 seats less than earlier.

In the 2014 loksabha election DMK failed to win any seats however by vote % it was second only to AIADMK.

Party Ideology

DMK, from its inception, wanted to have a separate independent state for the Dravidians. Annadurai wanted a separate Dravida Nadu but the DMK changed its stance with the Chinese invasion in 1962 and suspended its demand for the length of the war and supported India for raising funds for the war. When the war ended, nationalistic feelings were so strong that DMK gave up the separate Dravida nation idea.[12]

The Anti-Hindi agitations of 1965 forced the central government to abandon its efforts to impose Hindi as the only official language of the country; still Hindi imposition continued as Indian government employees are asked to write as much as 65% of the letters and memoranda in Hindi.[12]

In April 1974, the DMK government brought in a resolution in the House urging the Centre to accept the Rajamannar Committee recommendations on state autonomy and amend the Constitution of India to pave the way for a true federal system.[12]


The DMK and its prime opposition party, the ADMK have posted an array of populist schemes targeting the human development index of the state. Most of the schemes are accused to be targeting garner larger electoral support. Both the parties have schemes listed in the election manifestos covering various segments of the population involving fishermen, farmers and school children. Till the 2000s, the parties had welfare schemes like maternity assistance, subsidised public transport and educational grants. After the 2000s, the parties started competing at an increasing level over the distribution of consumer goods. The ADMK government distributed free cycles to class 11 and class 12 students during its tenure of 2001–06. The DMK, in competition, promised free colour televisions in its manifesto in 2006 elections. The competition continued during the 2011 elections when both parties announced free laptops for schools students and grinder, mixer and fans for public.[13]

Party Symbol

The party's election symbol is the sun arising from between two mountains, called the Rising Sun and also it has a flag consist off black and red colour.

Election history

Tamil Nadu

Year Election Votes Polled% of Votes polled Seats Won/Seats contested Alliance(s)
1957 Second Assembly (Madras state) - 13.08 15/100[14][15]
1962 Third Assembly (

chennai state)

3,435,63327.13 50/143[16]
1967 Fourth Assembly (Madras state) 6,230,55240.06 138/233[17]
1971 Fifth Assembly 7,654,93546.04 182/203[18] INC(I)/CPI/AIFB/PSP/IUML
1977 Sixth Assembly 4,258,77124.89 48/230[19][20] None
1980 Seventh Assembly 4,164,389 22.65 37/112[11][21] INC(I)[11]
1984 Eighth Assembly 6,362,77029.34 24/167[11][22] CPI/CPM/JP
1989 Ninth Assembly 8,001,22233.44 150/202[23][24] None
1991 Tenth Assembly 5,535,668 22.46 2/176[25] TMK/CPI/CPM/JD
1996 Eleventh Assembly 11,423,380 54.04 173/182[26][27] TMC-Sister Party of Congress
2001 Twelfth Assembly 8,669,864 30.9231/183[28] NDA-BJP
2006 Thirteenth Assembly 8,728,716 26.46 96/132[29][30] DPA-India National Congress (UPA, LF)
2011 Fourteenth Assembly 8,249,991 22.39 23/124[31] INC/PMK/VCK/IUML/KMK
2016 Fifteenth Assembly 13,670,511 31.06 89/174 INC/PTP/IUML
Year Election Votes Polled Seats Won Alliance(s)
1962 3rd Lok Sabha 07[32]
1967 4th Lok Sabha 25[32]
1971 5th Lok Sabha 5,622,758 23[32] INC(I)
1977 6th Lok Sabha 3,323,320 2[32] JP
1980 7th Lok Sabha 4,236,537 16[32] INC(I)
1984 8th Lok Sabha 5,597,507 2 CPI/CPM]/JP/TNC
1989 9th Lok Sabha 7,038,849 0 CPI/CPM]/JD
1991 10th Lok Sabha 5,601,597 0 NF
1996 11th Lok Sabha 6,967,679 17[32] UF-Janata Dal
1998 12th Lok Sabha 5,140,266 5[33] UF-Janata Dal
1999 13th Lok Sabha 6,298,832 12[32] NDA_BJP
2004 14th Lok Sabha 7,064,393 16[32] DPA-Congress (UPA, LF)
2009 15th Lok Sabha 7,625,397 18 UPA-Congress
2014 16th Lok Sabha 9,636,430 0


Year Election Votes Polled Seats Won
1974 3rd Assembly 47,823 2
1977 4th Assembly 30,441 3
1980 5th Assembly 68,030 14
1985 6th Assembly 87,754 5
1990 7th Assembly 101,127 9
1991 8th Assembly 96,607 4
1996 9th Assembly 105,392 7
2001 10th Assembly 83,679 7
2006 11th Assembly 7
2011 12th Assembly 3
2016 13th Assembly 2
Year Election Votes Polled Seats Won
1984 8th Lok Sabha 97,672 0
1989 9th Lok Sabha 157,250 0
1991 10th Lok Sabha 140,313 0
1996 11th Lok Sabha 183,702 0
1998 12th Lok Sabha 168,122 1



The DMK party runs two newspapers, one each in English and Tamil, namely "The Rising Sun" (weekly journal) and "Murasoli" (daily) respectively.[35] Kalaignar TV is a channel started on 15 September 2007 and managed by Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal, the daughter and wife of Karunanidhi. The sister channels of Kalaignar TV are Isaiaruvi (music channel), Seithigal (news channel), Sirippoli (comedy channel), Kalaignar Asia and Chithiram (Tamil cartoon channel).[36]


Indira Gandhi dismissed the Karunanidhi government in 1976 based on charges of possible secession and corruption. The DMK government has been indicted by the Sarkaria commission for corruption in allotting tenders for the Veeranam project.[37] In 2001, the former chief secretary, K.A. Nambiar, and a host of others were arrested on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai. Karunanidhi and DMK party members were also charged under Sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC, and Section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, but no prima facie evidence was found against him and his son M K Stalin.

Connections with LTTE

The interim report of Justice Jain Commission, which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).[38] The interim report recommended that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the DMK party be held responsible for abetting Rajiv Gandhi's murderers. The final report contained no such allegations.[39]

Allegations of nepotism

M.K. Stalin, son of Karunanidhi

DMK has been accused by opponents, by some members of the party, and by other political observers of trying to promote nepotism and start a political dynasty along the lines of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Vaiko, who quit the DMK, has been the most vocal. Political observers say that Vaiko was sidelined as he was seen as a threat to M.K. Stalin and other family members.

Karunanidhi's nephew, Murasoli Maran, was a Union Minister; however, it has been pointed out that he was in politics long before Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister in 1969.[40]

Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party. But some of the party men have pointed out that Stalin has come up on his own.[41] Stalin was an MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, and became Chennai's 44th mayor in 1996. In 2009, he was made the Deputy Chief Minister.

Karunanidhi has been accused of helping Murasoli Maran's son Kalanidhi Maran, who runs Sun Network, India's second largest television network. According to Forbes, Kalanidhi is among India's richest 20, with $2.9 billion.[42]

Another son of Maran's, Dayanidhi Maran, served as Union Minister for Communications and IT portfolio. Dayanidhi was withdrawn from the because Dinakaran (a newspaper run by the Maran brothers) had shown the result of a public poll which read Dayanidhi Maran as the successor to Karunanidhi. This created a bloody violence in the Madurai branch of Dinakaran office, causing the death of three employees.

It has been pointed out that Karunanidhi has hesitated to take action against his erring family members.[43]

Karunanidhi is also accused of allowing Azhagiri to function as an extraconstitutional authority in Madurai.[44] The Dinakaran newspaper case was handed over to the CBI. But the District and Sessions court acquitted all the 17 accused in that case.[45] So far, the case has not been appealed in a higher court to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime. His daughter Kanimozhi is a member of Rajya Sabha.

Kanimozhi, the daughter of Karunanidhi

Involvement in 2G Scam

DMK has been facing allegations regarding 2G Spectrum scam.[46] The scam was bought into limelight in 2010 when case filed against Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja had been reported. 2G licenses were issued to private telecom players at throwaway prices in 2008. The CAG estimated on the basis of 3G auction that the 2G Spectrum scam had cost the government Rs. 1.76 trillion (short scale). Rules and procedures were flouted while issuing licenses.[47] The CBI in the Supreme Court has since indicated that the factual loss is around Rs 300 billion. One of the party's TV channel stations, Kalaignar TV was raided by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers in connection with the 2G Spectrum scam on 19 February 2011.[48] Karunanidhi's daughter MK Kanimozhi arrested and sent to Tihar jail on 20 May 2011 for alleged kickbacks in 2G Scam. She has been arrested for the illegal transfer of money to the DMK's official channel Kalaignar TV. DMK MP A Raja is the prime accused in 2 G scam and sent to Tihar Jail. Kanimozhi was subsequently released on bail on 29 November 2011 [49]

See also


  1. C.S., Satish Anand (27 December 2009). "Tamil Nadu: DMK Emerges Stronger". Oulook. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  2. "List of Political Parties and Election Symbols main Notification Dated 18.01.2013" (PDF). India: Election Commission of India. 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  3. Rao, MSA (1979). Urban Sociology in India. Orient Longman Publishers. ISBN 9780861252961.
  4. Radhan, O.P. (2002). "A Time-Bound Plan for Muslim India". Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications. p. 187. ISBN 81-7488-865-9.
  5. Omvedt, Gail (2006). Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movement and the Construction on an Indian Identity. Orient Longman. pp. 54–55. ISBN 81-250-2895-1.
  6. "Ethnic balance". India Today. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  7. Dirks, Nicholas B. (2001). Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. Princeton University Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-691-08895-2.
  8. "Priest-less weddings in TN VIP families". Sify News. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  9. Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's other Film Industry. Psychology Press. p. 69. ISBN 9780203930373.
  10. Hardgrave, Jr., Robert L. (1973). Politics and the Film in Tamilnadu: The Stars and the DMK. Asian Survey. University of California Press.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Murali 1994, p. 82
  12. 1 2 3 Palanithurai, Ganapathy (1997). Polyethnicity in India and Canada: Possibilities for Exploration. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 21–22. ISBN 9788175330399.
  13. Kohli, Atul; Singh, Prerna (2013). Routledge Handbook of Indian Politics. Routledge. p. 285. ISBN 9781135122744.
  14. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1952–57 1957, p. 2
  15. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1952–57 1957, p. 119
  16. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1962–70 1967, pp. 6–7
  17. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1967–70 1971, p. 7
  18. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1971–76 1976, p. 157
  19. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1977–80 1980, p. 9
  20. Murali 2007, p. 81
  21. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1980, p. 10
  22. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1984, p. 10
  23. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1989, p. 10
  24. Murali 2007, p. 83
  25. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1991, p. 10
  26. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1996, p. 11
  27. Murali 2007, p. 84
  28. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 2001, p. 11
  29. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 2006, p. 11
  30. Murali 2007, p. 86
  31. Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 2011, p. 12
  32. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rana 2006, p. 398
  33. Ahuja 1998, p. 358
  34. V., Annamalai (1996). Formation and Transformation of Power in Rural India. Discovery Publishing House. p. 48. ISBN 9788171413232.
  35. "DMK homepage". Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  36. "Kalaignar Channel". Kalaignar Channel. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  37. "What the Sarkaria Commission said". The Hindu. 10 June 2001. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  38. Chawla, Prabhu (17 November 1997). "Jain Commission Revelations: Damning the DMK". India Today. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  39. "No adverse comments on DMK leaders in Jain report". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 February 2004. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  40. "Maran – the eyes and ears of DMK in Delhi". Indiainfo.com. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  41. "Politics: Special Series; M K Stalin". India Today. 1 November 1999. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  42. "The World's Billionaires Page 11 of 41". Forbes. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  43. "DMK's sonny-come-lately". Tehelka. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  44. "Charge sheet filed against Azhagiri in Kiruttinan case". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 19 August 2003. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  45. "All acquitted in Dinakaran case". The Hindu. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  46. "It's a Bit too Transparent". Outlook. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  47. 2G Spectrum Scam
  48. "CBI raids Karunanidhi family's Kalaignar TV office". The Times of India. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  49. "Kanimozhi walks out of Tihar jail". The Hindu. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2013.


External links

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