R M Veerappan Passes Away

Chennai: Former State Minister and a stalwart of the Dravidian movement R M Veerappan passed away on Tuesday at a hospital in Chennai, where he was admitted due to age-related health issues a couple of days earlier. He was 97 years old.

Chief Minister M K Stalin was among the first to pay homage to the mortal remains of the political leader, who was also a film producer. Stalin, who visited the family and consoled them before leaving for Madurai for the campaign.

In his condolence message, Stalin recalled greeting the founder of the MGR Kazhagam on his 97th birthday on September 9. He said he hoped that Veerapan would see his 100th birthday. He was associated with Periyar E V Ramasamy, C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi, and was close to the DMK in his final years, he said.

Describing him as an achiever in the fields of politics, cinema, Tamil welfare and spirituality, he said he was MGR’s conscience, having served as minister in his governments.

Veerappan was behind MGR when he launched the AIADMK in 1972 by rallying the film fans associations behind it and was minister in his governments between 1977 and 1988. He was joint secretary of the AIADMK at one point and had been an MLA twice – elected from Tirunelveli in 1986 and Kangayam in 1991 – and the Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) thrice.

As the executive director of Em Gee Yar Pictures, he produced blockbusters like Nadodi Mannan, Adimai Pen and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban that launched MGR as a successful actor. He was the film producer who launched K Balachander in movies by offering him a chance to write dialogues for the film Deiva Thai, featuring MGR.

After the passing away of MGR in 1987, the AIADMK split into the Jayalalithaa group and the Janaki group and Veerappan was backing Janaki Ramachandran. Subsequently, the two groups merged and he was back in the AIADMK government under the leadership of J Jayalalitha in 1991.

While he was a Minister in the AIADMK government, in 1996, at an event organized in connection with the film Bhasha, produced by Veerappan, actor Rajinikanth spoke against the government in his presence, saying that bomb culture had come to the State.

After that incident, his relationship with Jayalalithaa soured and he distanced himself from the AIADMK and formed his own MGR Kazhagam.

People across the political spectrum paid tributes to the veteran political leader, TNCC president K Selvaperunthogai and DMDK president Premalatha Vijayakanth were among those who conveyed their condolences to his family and friends.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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