By the way no one calls him Karunanidhi back home in Tamil Nadu. He is referred to as Dr Kalaignar.
The doctorate was bestowed upon him some years ago by a vice-chancellor suitably impressed by Karunanidhi's academic credentials; the'Kalaignar' came by way of devoted party yes-men. Kalaignar means a good artiste in Tamil.
Karunanidhi began his career writing for Tamil movies, penning powerful scripts that among others launched Sivaji Ganesan and built M G Ramachandran into a demi God.
Why did Karunanidhi rush to the capital from hospital? Clearly, to shop for ministerial posts for his party.
After the 2004 general election, he got everything he demanded. But the scene has changed now. Even though his DMK party won two more Lok Sabha seats this election, it is still one seat less than what Bengal's drama queen has won. And, of course, the Congress, with 205 MPs of its own, and letters of support from the BSP and SP doesn't really need the DMK except for sentimental reasons.
The deadlock is reportedly over securing ministries for his eldest son, his youngest daughter, his grandnephew and two DMK leaders.
One former minister has been accused of causing losses running into millions of rupees in the Spectrum scandal.
The other worthie was accused of giving subsidised gas to a company run by his children and friends. And when pulled up, he declared, 'What's wrong in helping friends?'
The daughter is a poet who entered politics two years ago and almost immediately became a member of the House of the Elders. Her dad now wants her to be a minister.
The son was once reportedly accused of murder, but acquitted of the charge. This 58-year-old gent just entered parliamentary politics apparently to prove that he is just as good as his younger brother, who is widely seen as his father's political heir.
A couple of years ago when a Madurai newspaper survey revealed that the younger son had the upper hand over his elder sibling in the succession race, the newspaper's offices were set on fire, resulting in three deaths.
Since the newspaper was owned by Karunanidhi's grandnephews, one grandnephew was booted out of the Manmohan Singh Cabinet and both families were bitterly estranged until last winter.
The sight of the chief minister of the state where I live canvassing for two dubious politicians and his family makes me ashamed. Tamils, it seems, are being lampooned by political cartoonists and observers all over this great country.
This morning Dr K returned to Chennai and promised outside support to Dr S's government. Exactly what the Congress does for his government in Tamil Nadu.
I hope Sonia Gandhi and her advisers don't get bullied and give into the DMK. By refusing to accommodate his ex-DMK ministers Dr Singh has clearly indicated that freed of the shackles of the allies and the Communists, he is going to be tough (contrary to the BJP's rubbish about a weak prime minister, we hear he was one tough, unyielding administrator in his old jobs).
Observing Karunanidhi's power play last night and this morning instantly reminded me of a great Tamil who I once met -- A P J Abdul Kalam, whose nephews work in grocery stores, companies and in the Gulf. I hear his family visited Kalam just once at Rashtrapati Bhavan -- and the President paid for their stay!
M Karunanidhi, who is keen on ensuring that all his children are well settled before he passes into the ages, needs to learn from President Kalam's example.
I am proud President Kalam is a Tamil.