Supporters rejoice as DMK patriarch’s picture released

Four days after DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital after his blood pressure dropped, there has been a let-up in the number of party cadre thronging the premises.

While they swarmed the entire junction on Sunday night, after news broke that their leader had suffered a health setback, the crowds thinned noticeably on Tuesday.

In the morning, the number of police personnel outnumbered that of party cadre. Later, their numbers gradually increased, to some extent.

Kannamal Pandian, a DMK supporter who had come all the way from Kanniyakumari, said she was determined that she would head home only after her leader recovered. “There are many who have returned to their hometowns, but I’m not one of them; I’m sure he will be in fine fettle soon, and only after I see that will I go back [home],” she added.

At one point, DMK cadre had a minor scuffle with policemen when they were asked to move aside to make way for traffic.

Day after day, bikers driving over the Alwarpet flyover religiously stopped and watched the crowd outside the hospital with curiosity before resuming their journey. Though police personnel kept giving instructions to the media and the party cadre to give way for the patients, many had difficulty getting into the hospital.

About 100 DMK cadre thronged the hospital through the day, although the number of party flags carried by them over the past three days had come down.

The DMK’s South Chennai women’s wing organised a signature campaign outside the hospital for the DMK patriarch to get well. "We are all praying for his recovery. This signature campaign is for that. Maybe around 2,000 people have written messages for him and signed," V. Pandichelvi, a district deputy convenor of the Women’s wing said. "We will take this sheet and conduct a pooja either today evening or tomorrow for our leader’s wellbeing," she added.

Just ahead of Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s visit, the skies opened up, but a good number of supporters held their ground and stayed put outside the hospital gates while others scurried to find cover under the flyover. When Mr. Gandhi’s convoy reached the hospital, some Congress supporters waved the party flag and raised slogans hailing Mr. Gandhi.

A photograph released a little after 5.45 p.m. made the day for DMK cadre, who had gathered outside Kauvery Hospital. As the photograph of their leader M. Karunanidhi in the Intensive Care Unit was circulated on WhatsApp, they cheered at the sight of the veteran. The photograph was released by the admin of Mr.Karunanidhi’s Twitter account.

A wave of excitement once again swept over those waiting at the entrance of the hospital as actor Rajinikanth’s car drove in. Having returned from shooting for his next film, the actor dropped in to the hospital to extend his wishes for a speedy recovery of the five-time Chief Minister. (With inputs from T.K. Rohit, Sunitha Sekar, Serena Josephine M., and Vivek Narayanan.)

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