In a sorrowful turn of events, the founder and chief of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Vijayakanth, succumbed to COVID-19 on Thursday (December 28) in Chennai. The 71-year-old political stalwart had been hospitalised, leaving his family and legions of fans in grief. He is survived by his wife, Premalatha, who now shoulders the responsibility of leading the party, and their two sons.
Vijayakanth, an actor turned politician, carved a unique niche in Tamil Nadu’s political landscape, emulating the path of M.G. Ramachandran (MGR). His political journey saw him establish the DMDK in 2005, breaking the long-standing dominance of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). In 2011, he achieved the distinguished position of Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly.
Known for his powerful dialogue delivery, Vijayakanth addressed societal issues, corruption, and emerged as a patriotic figure fighting against terrorism. Beyond rhetoric, he endeared himself to the masses by financially assisting the underprivileged and providing self-employment opportunities for destitute women through initiatives like distributing tailoring machines.
Vijayakanth’s demise marks the end of an era in Tamil Nadu politics, leaving behind a legacy that resonates with his contributions both on the silver screen and in the political arena. The state mourns the loss of a leader who challenged the status quo and championed the cause of the common man.
Taking to X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Extremely saddened by the passing away of Thiru Vijayakanth Ji. A legend of the Tamil film world, his charismatic performances captured the hearts of millions. As a political leader, he was deeply committed to public service, leaving a lasting impact on Tamil Nadu’s political landscape. His passing leaves a void that will be hard to fill. He was a close friend and I fondly recall my interactions with him over the years. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family, fans and numerous followers. Om Shanti.”
Extremely saddened by the passing away of Thiru Vijayakanth Ji. A legend of the Tamil film world, his charismatic performances captured the hearts of millions. As a political leader, he was deeply committed to public service, leaving a lasting impact on Tamil Nadu’s political… pic.twitter.com/di0ZUfUVWo
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 28, 2023
The passing of Captain Vijayakanth, founder and chief of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), has triggered an outpouring of grief from political leaders and celebrities across Tamil Nadu. Social media became the platform for expressing condolences, with prominent figures paying homage to the multifaceted leader.
Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai expressed deep sorrow, highlighting Vijayakanth’s roots in south Tamil Nadu and his significant contributions to the South Indian film industry. Annamalai described him as a gentleman who alleviated the hunger of impoverished workers. The BJP leader tweeted, “Born in south Tamil Nadu, he is proud to have built the South Indian film industry. A gentleman who quenched the hunger of the poor workers. A wonderful artist loved by Tamil people worldwide.”
BJP leader Khushbu Sundar, mourning the loss of a gem and a man with a golden heart, extended her condolences to Vijayakanth’s family, fans, and devoted party workers. Retired Major Madhan Kumar hailed Vijayakanth as a legend, remembering him as the hero both on and off the screen—a voice for the voiceless who dared to dream in the realm of politics.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi acknowledged Vijayakanth’s contributions to cinema and politics, expressing deep sadness over his demise. Rahul Gandhi posted on social media, “His contributions to cinema and politics have left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions. My heartfelt condolences to his family and fans during this difficult time.”
Deeply saddened by the demise of DMDK founder, Thiru Vijayakanth ji.
His contributions to cinema and politics have left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions. My heartfelt condolences to his family and fans during this difficult time.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 28, 2023
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin personally condoled the death of Captain Vijayakanth, visiting his residence after the mortal remains were brought there. Stalin announced that Captain Vijayakanth would be laid to rest with State Honours, and his body would be taken to the DMDK office.
AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi Palaniswami conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family, recognising Vijayakanth’s active role in public life and the arts. He tweeted, “I am deeply saddened to learn that Vijayakanth, President of DMDK, former Leader of Opposition, and dear brother passed away due to ill health. I convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved Premalatha Vijayakanth, her family, and her party members.”
As Tamil Nadu bids farewell to this iconic leader, Captain Vijayakanth’s legacy of courage, compassion, and contributions to both cinema and politics will be eternally remembered by a grieving state.