Chennai, Sep 14: Year-long celebrations of the birth centenary of DMK founder and late Tamil Nadu chief minsiter C N Annadurai, kick off tomorrow.
Affectionately called as Anna by scores of his followers, the Dravidian stalwart, instrumental in installing the DMK government for the first time in 1967, would be remembered by one and all as the state government has lined up a series of functions for the next one year from tomorrow.
DMK Patriarch and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would launch the Rs one a-kg-rice scheme on the occasion, a pet project of Anna that unseated the Congress and catapulted the DMK to power for the first time in 1967.
Anna's promise to launch the scheme in 1967 after the DMK was voted to power could not take off due to paucity of funds. But Mr Karunanidhi chose the occasion of Anna's birth centenary to fulfill the long cherished dream of his political mentor to launch the scheme across the state to alleviate the sufferings of the poor.
Ministers and senior party functionaries would launch the scheme, introduced for the first time in India, in various districts, for the benefit of the poor.
After introducing the populist Rs two a-kg-rice scheme on Anna's birthday on September 15 in 2006, after assuming the office of the Chief Minister for a record fifth time, Mr Karunanidhi would earn yet another feather in its cap, when he launches the scheme tomorrow, despite criticisms from a couple of political parties like the DMDK.
A photo exhibition depicting life history of Annadurai, literary reviews, and cultural programmes were also being held to mark his centenary.
Anna's birth place at Kancheepuram wore a festive look with festoons and banners and his ancestral residence was also given a facelift with fresh coat of paint. Scores of statues of Anna, installed in various parts of the state, were tastefully decorated. Anna's memorial on the Marina was also given a facelift, where Mr Karunanidhi would pay floral tributes to his political mentor, who played a key role in ending the Congress rule in 1967 in the state, by forming a mega alliance that included Swatantra Party of C Rajagopalachari and the CPI(M).
Known for his strong oratorial skills that drew hordes of crowds, Anna was also involved in social justice movement along with Rationalist leader Periyar E V Ramasamy and was instrumental in the formation of the Justice Party and strongly protested imposition of Hindi in the state in 1930s.
After playing a key role in the formation of the Dravidar Kazhagam along with Periyar, Anna later parted ways with his mentor before forming the DMK and guiding the party to ascend the throne in 1967.
Apart form the cadres of the DMK, leaders of the Congress and the Opposition AIADMK and MDMK, have chalked out year-long programmes to celebrate the birth centenary of Anna, who was hailed as the ''Thennattu Gandhi'' (Mahatma Gandhi of South India).