Chennai mourns the loss of the iconic actor and influential politician, Vijayakanth, who passed away at the age of 71 due to complications arising from COVID-19. The founder-leader of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazgam (DMDK) breathed his last in Chennai after battling an illness that led to respiratory distress, necessitating ventilator support.
Earlier in the day, the DMDK announced Vijayakanth’s hospital admission and subsequent reliance on ventilator assistance after he reported breathing difficulties. The news shook his followers and the public alike, marking a sorrowful end to a remarkable journey.
Vijayakanth, fondly known as ‘Captain,’ had left an indelible mark not only in Tamil cinema, featuring in 154 movies before transitioning to politics but also in the political landscape of Tamil Nadu.
His contributions to the South Indian film industry were significant during his tenure at Nadigar Sangam (South Indian Artistes’ Association), where he introduced transformative reforms.
In 2005, he established the DMDK, aiming to bring about political change. Despite an initial modest showing in the 2006 elections with a mere 10 percent vote share and no victories except his own, the party surged forward in 2011, contesting in alliance with the AIADMK and clinching 26 out of 41 constituencies.
This victory positioned the DMDK as the principal Opposition Party, with Vijayakanth assuming the role of the leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly from 2011 to 2016.
However, diverging viewpoints led to a rift between the DMDK and the AIADMK, resulting in the resignation of several DMDK MLAs and the subsequent loss of its prominent opposition status.
Throughout his political career, Vijayakanth served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly twice, representing the Virudhachalam and Rishivandiyam constituencies. His party faced challenges in subsequent elections, including the 2014 parliament elections where it aligned with the NDA and suffered a significant drop in vote percentage.
Unfortunately, health complications plagued Vijayakanth, impacting the performance of the DMDK in the 2016, 2019, and 2021 elections.
Vijayakanth’s demise leaves a void not only in the political arena but also in the hearts of countless admirers who revered him for his cinematic brilliance and political fervor. The memories of his impactful journey in both realms will endure as a testament to his legacy.