Hundreds of DMK cadre who dispersed shortly after the police used mild force to clear the area outside Kauvery Hospital on Sunday night started trooping back to the hospital early on Monday. Once they assembled in front of the hospital, they got into the act straight away. They raised slogans, followed the live feed from news channels — some of them even managed to give a sound bite or two — and waxed eloquent on the attributes of their leader M. Karunanidhi. Many party workers even requested the media contingent stationed at the venue for snippets of information about his health, and about what was happening inside the hospital.

On Sunday, many cadres dispersed from the Luz Church Road only to troop into other streets in the neighbourhood.

Some of the hotels that used to open early in the morning remained shut till 9 a.m. on Monday as they feared some violence; some of them had allegedly been threatened on Sunday as news of the “setback” that Mr. Karunanidhi had suffered spread virally. On Monday morning, the cadre had visibly sobered up and were behaving in a more disciplined manner.

S. Bala, who led a group of software engineers who returned by 5 a.m. on Monday said the DMK leader’s contribution to social justice, Tamil language, State autonomy and the growth of the information technology sector in the State was significant. “We have gathered here to see our leader’s charismatic face and listen to his magnetic voice. His words give us energy,” he said.

Party workers went around distributing butter milk and biscuits to the police personnel on duty.

Awaitingayya

Eighty-four-year-old Chellammal had come all the way from Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district to get a glimpse of her beloved leader. She recalled an old episode and said, “My daughter has some personal issues and it was
ayya
(referring to Mr. Karunanidhi) who sorted out the issue and helped my family at that point of time. It’s because of him that my daughter is leading a peaceful life,” she added. She opened a knot she had in her saree and showed some coins and notes and said, “I went to the Gopalapuram house and stood there for a long time and then I was told he is at the hospital. A person there directed me to the hospital and also gave me Rs. 100.” J. Prakash, a party cadre from a village near Kancheepuram came to the hospital with his relatives, villagers and a visually challenged girl. The girl, P. Ellammal, said,“I can’t see but still I wanted to come here with my uncle,” and added that she could hear the crowd roar. She then screamed: “Come back
thatha!
(grandad)” C. Desingurajan, a party worker from Dharmapuri, was busy distributing
Murasoli
(the mouthpiece of DMK) to his friends who had accompanied him.

Many people like Mr. Designurajan were holding up posters and singing songs. They said that they were hopeful of Mr. Karunanidhi making a full recovery soon even as they constantly sang: ”
Varaar ayya vaaraaru”
(He’s coming, our leader).

(
with inputs from Aloysius Xavier Lopez, Udhav Naig, Sangeetha Kandavel and S. Poorvaja)

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