When he turned up at the party's headquarters in Chennai yesterday, even his supporters were surprised to see him clad in a black shirt. Instead of the trademark yellow shawl that is seen around his shoulders, Karunanidhi had draped a white shawl.
He told curious reporters that Tamil Nadu Police has banned the use of black attire during DMK's proposed agitation. "Considering that violating the ban might lead to trouble, I thought it fit to wear a black shirt today," Karunanidhi said.
He demanded to know why the ruling AIADMK had barred his party's activists from wearing black clothes. "From today, as a mark of protest against the government, I am wearing black. I will continue to wear it," Karunanidhi later wrote in the DMK mouthpiece 'Murasoli'.
As can be expected, his partymen hailed the decision and even started to emulate him. "Many of our second-level leaders bought black shirts today," one of them revealed.
Incidentally, black shirts were popularised by Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar EV Ramasamy back in 1945. Karunanidhi too used to prefer the same at that time.
However, the DMK's formation in 1949 led to him and other erstwhile members of the Dravidar Kazhagam switching over to white shirts. Since then Karunanidhi has taken care to always wear white.