CHENNAI: AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa celebrated her 60th birthday in Chennai on Sunday, solemnising 60 weddings and further estranging Karunanidhi-Maran family ties.
Even as Jayalalithaa went about her birthday chores, offering pujas, garlanding MGR statues and solemnising weddings, what raised eyebrows was the Sunday edition of Dinakaran, owned by the Kalanidhi-Dayanaidhi Marans.
The paper carried advertisements hailing Amma. Rumour mills churned out stories of an “imminent meeting between Dayanidhi Maran and Jayalalithaa”. But that was not to be.
Dinakaran, which had been a pro-DMK broadsheet, remained so after the Marans acquired and relaunched it three years ago to make it the largest-selling daily in Tamil Nadu. Though Jayalalithaa’s statements and photographs found a prominent column space in Dinakaran after Dayanidhi Maran was ousted from the union cabinet in May 2007 following a family feud, this is the first time the paper has carried advertisements released by Jayalalithaa’s followers.
The front page of Dinakaran carried a quarter-page advertisement released by AIADMK legislature party leader O Paneerselvam, hailing Jayalalithaa as “tomorrow’s history”. There were 21 more such advertisemets occupying most of the 14 pages of the paper’s main issue. As Dinakaran readers, once used to similar superlatives in praise of Karunanidhi, tried to read between the lines. The grapevine had it that the younger Maran would call on the birthday lady.
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Maran dismisses reports about possible meeting with Jayalalithaa
Chennai (PTI): Dayanidhi Maran, former Union Minister and estranged grand nephew of DMK patriarch M Karunandihi, on Sunday dismissed as "rumours" the reports about his possible meeting with AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa.
Rumours were doing rounds since Saturday night that Maran would call on the AIADMK leader to greet her on her 60th birthday on Sunday. These were triggered by the publication of a plethora of advertisements, given by AIADMK men on the eve of Jayalalithaa's birthday, in Maran brothers-owned Tamil eveninger 'Tamil Murasu'.
The advertisements, given by senior AIADMK leaders like O Panneerselvam, were also prominently displayed in the Maran-owned daily 'Dinakaran' on Sunday.
"It's pure business," Maran told reporters here when asked about the publication of AIADMK adverstisements in his dailies.
Maran, who had been sidelined by the DMK leadership, after the publication of a survey in 'Dinakaran' last year, dismissed the rumours that he was planning to call on Jayalalithaa.
The AIADMK, which had traditionally been patronising another leading Tamil daily, had chosen not to give even a single adverstisement to it this time.
Asked about this, Maran retorted, "If they have shifted allegiance from that daily, what can we do?"
Maran, who was stripped of the high-profile Communication and IT portfolio after he fell out of favour with the DMK leadership following the publication of the survey, was however, still holding the MP seat won on the DMK ticket.
AIADMK chief refrains from extravagance
Chennai: AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Sunday turned 60 and refrained from any cake-cutting ceremony or distribution of sweets even as mass weddings, blood donations, free food and aid for the poor marked the occasion.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad greeted Jayalalithaa over phone, a party release said.
The AIADMK chief, who had quiet birthdays in the past few years solemnised the wedding of 60 poor couples and the wards of five party functionaries on the occasion.
|Jayalalithaa attends a mass wedding ceremony on Sunday|
“Amma has issued a strict order that the focus should be on the mass wedding and not on her birthday. But, how can we refrain from wishing her on her birthday,” a senior party functionary said.
Jayalalithaa blessed the ‘mangalsutra’ and presented them to bridegrooms. As they tied the knot, she showered ‘atchathai’ (holy grains) on the couples and posed for photographs with them.
They were also given wedding gifts of 60 household articles each, including silver lamps, watches, LPG stoves and utensils.
Speaking on the occasion, she turned nostalgic and said:
“My father passed away at the age of 42, my mother at 47 and my brother at 49.”
“If I’ve completed 60 years and entered 61st year today, it is all due to the blessings of my mother and my political mentor MGR (M G Ramachandran) and the love you all have bestowed on me,” she said.
|Jayalalithaa explains the rationale behind forming youth camps in every ward|
— Photo:S. R. Raghunathan
WITH BLESSINGS: AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa conducts the marriage of former AIADMK Minister S.Muthusamy’s son at her 60th birthday celebrations held on Sunday. Sixty five couples got married on the occasion
CHENNAI: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa, who turned 60 on Sunday according to the English calendar, chose the function organised on her birthday to explain the rationale behind her party’s latest initiative of setting up ‘Ilaignar Pasarai’ and ‘Ilam Pengal Pasarai’ (camps for young men and women) in every ward of rural and urban local bodies.
Noting that the party required rejuvenation and new blood, Ms Jayalalithaa said members of the proposed camps would “spearhead the army for our rights.” The camps would groom the youth for the future and would be a training ground that focussed on the greatness of the nation, language and the race. Senior members of the party would guide the young members.
[On Thursday last at Thirukadaiyur in Nagapattinam district, Ms Jayalalithaa participated in religious events conducted to mark her birthday as per the Tamil calendar].
The AIADMK leader was speaking after solemnising the wedding of 65 couples held on the premises of a school in Kilpauk. She presented 60 varieties of household articles to 60 couples, whose wedding was organised by the J.Jayalalithaa Peravai [forum named after the AIADMK general secretary]. She gave away gifts to the other five couples. As her personal donation, she presented a cheque for Rs. 10 lakh to Latha Rajendran, principal, Dr. MGR School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired, towards the education of school students.
Likening the party to “Karpaga Vritcham” [a tree in heaven that is said to yield whatever one desires, according to the legend], she said the AIADMK was not an organisation that thrived in one period and declined in the other. It was not merely a political party but an “affectionate family.” It was a tree that would not wilt. “It was raised by a ‘moon’ [Chandran] that will not diminish in size,” she said, referring to AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran and drawing applause from the gathering.
S. Muthusamy, the party organising secretary and whose son, M. Raja, got married on the occasion, said Ms Jayalalithaa was the “only and direct” heir of the AIADMK founder.
According to a release issued by the AIADMK, L.K.Advani, Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party general secretary, Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister, and Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP’s ‘prabhari’ (in-charge) for Tamil Nadu, spoke to Ms Jayalalithaa over phone and greeted her on the occasion of her birthday. Another release stated that at the party head office in Royapettah, E. Madhusudanan, chairman of the party presidium, released a souvenir. A 60-kg cake was cut. Poor feeding and special prayers were conducted in places of worship in different States including Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
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