Indira Gandhi had urged the DMK not to oppose the Emergency but then chief minister late M Karunanidhi had put democracy before his rule and opposed it, only to lose his government, Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin said on Saturday.
The late prime minister had sent her messengers to convey to Mr Karunanidhi that he should not oppose the Emergency when it was imposed in 1975 and that the DMK government may be dismissed if he did not heed the plea, Mr Stalin said, addressing a mammoth gathering here, where more than 4,000 people from various political parties including the AIADMK and DMDK joined the ruling DMK.
He said Mrs Gandhi imposed Emergency in the country to "protect herself from a crisis", following which a number of persons were arrested and many leaders booked under the then stringent Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).
"We were ruling in Tamil Nadu then. At that time, there is a message for Kalaignar (CM Karunanidhi). From where? From Delhi. Messengers deputed by Madam Indira Gandhi inform him that (you) should not oppose Emergency and that if opposed, the (DMK) government will fall the next second," he said.
However, Mr Karunanidhi told them he was not bothered even about his life and that democracy was important for him.
At a public meeting held later at the Marina here, Mr Karunanidhi proposed a resolution against Emergency, Mr Stalin recalled.
Soon after, the DMK government was dismissed, he said, adding "we all were arrested." The CM said he was recalling this incident to highlight that his late father Mr Karunanidhi was never bothered about power but was only concerned about the people and the country.
CM Stalin reminded people that the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA), led by his party, had lost one seat to the opposition in the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The DMK chief urged the party cadre to work hard to win all the 40 seats (39 in TN and 1 in Puducherry) in the 2024 general elections, since the people had given a clear mandate for the SPA by giving a thumping victory to the alliance partner Congress' candidate in the recent Erode East Assembly bypoll.
Mr Stalin said the win in Erode East was a reflection of the good governance and schemes given to the people of Tamil Nadu, like free bus travel for women as promised in the manifesto and Rs 1,000 to all girls from classes 6 to 12 in government schools, which was not in the manifesto.
Claiming that some parties were trying to create confusion and instigate violence in the name of religion and caste and also attempting to oust the DMK government, he said the alliance winning all the 40 seats would be a befitting reply to them.
He also said the DMK would work for the victory of alliance partners in other states.
Tracing the history of DMK's founding by late C N Annadurai, he said it was formed not for power, but to serve the poor, downtrodden and farmers and added the party had seen many ups and downs, dismissals (in 1976 and 1991), before coming to power for a sixth time in 2021.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)