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Jaya damper on party

Chennai, Feb. 12: Jayalalithaa, who turns 56 on February 24, has appealed to her party cadre not to celebrate her birthday.

Last year, on the ADMK leader’s birthday, there was an unusual “double celebration” as it coincided with the announcement of her huge electoral win from Andipatti in the Assembly byelection to the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The day saw the Chennai elite, including state bureaucrats and police officials, flocking her Poes Garden residence with bouquets and shawls to wish the chief minister-to-be.

However, this year, Amma, citing the severe drought conditions in the state and the plight of the Cauvery delta farmers following Karnataka’s refusal to release Cauvery waters, has said no to any birthday bash.

“I feel it is not necessary to celebrate my birthday this year,” Jayalalithaa said. Moreover, she added, in view of the bypoll on February 26, “the party should turn its attention fully towards election work”.

Jayalalithaa also directed them not to visit her at her residence on that day. “If you still insist on making my birthday a memorable occasion, kindly go and reach out to the needy, the poor, the disabled and the aged people and try to help them in any small way you can,” she told party leaders. “I will take that as your true birthday greetings. Love is not in the spoken word but in acts of kindness.”

Earlier, DMK president M. Karunanidhi, too, had made a similar appeal well in advance of his 80th birthday that falls on June 3 this year.

The drought that has hit the state and the health condition of the senior DMK leader Murasoli Maran, who recently underwent a third heart valve replacement at a US hospital, did not call for any such celebrations, he said.

Instead, Karunanidhi said, partymen should on February 18 observe the death anniversary of C. Natesa Mudaliar, one of the founding fathers of the Dravidian Movement along with the late T.M. Nair and P. Thyagarayar, to spread awareness on their contribution to building a just and secular social order.

This year also happens to be the 90th anniversary of the Non-Brahmin Movement launched by the Dravidian Association founded in 1913, he had reminded his party leaders.

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