Chennai, Sept. 30: In a sign that the DMK is warming up to Congress-centric forces, the party today roped in former President K.R. Narayanan to inaugurate the Kalaignar Karuvoolam, a museum on the history of the Dravidian movement.
The party is part of the National Democratic Alliance coalition at the Centre, but its relations with the BJP have come under increasing strain.
Today, Narayanan and his wife, Usha, visited the Anna Arivalayam that houses the DMK office and inaugurated the new museum in the complex.
They also shared a platform with top DMK leaders, led by party chief M. Karunanidhi and general secretary K. Anbazhagan.
The former President, a veteran Congressman, made a speech on the relevance of the Dravidian movement in protecting secularism.
Narayanan said the movement was a “turning point” that allowed the “exploited” to express dissent “in a constructive manner” in order to get back their “human rights, self-respect, justice and dignity”.
The former President spoke of the “historic and pioneering role” played by the DMK in restoring equality and justice to Dalits, the socially backward classes and other underprivileged sections.
He also said the Dravidian movement aimed at “breaking the monopolisation of intelligence by a few” by providing the hitherto neglected classes the chance to educate themselves.
In an apparent reference to the rise of Hindutva forces, Narayanan said “the undying spirit of the Dravidian movement” should be harnessed to fight the “counter-evolution of our times” when the values of the movement and “our secular ethos are under severe pressure”.
The DMK museum should help to sensitise people to the movement’s relevance, Narayanan said.