Kishore Sharma – Televisionpoint.com
The DMK’s uneasy relationship with the Maran family owned Sun TV came into open with party president M. Karunanidhi’s wife relinquishing her 20 per cent share in the Sun Network, Kungumam, a Tamil weekly and other magazines run by the family.
Talking to reporters in connection with the party’s district secretaries meeting here, MR Karunanidhi said his wife Dhayalu Ammal “amicably” relinquished her shares. From the proceeds she received, after allocating sufficient amount towards Income-tax, she divided the proceeds among the family members and gave him RS 10 crore as his share.
MR Karunanidhi said he earmarked RS 5 crore for a trust named Kalaignar Karunanidhi Charitable Trust and handed over a cheque for the sum to the party general secretary K. Anbazhagan.
According to party sources, MR Karunanidhi has decided to distance himself from the channel as he is unhappy with the channel turning cold towards his son M.K. Stalin, his heir-apparent. The DMK chief had openly expressed his displeasure at the channel’s coverage of party affairs and once even asked a Sun cameraman to leave his press conference. Some DMK men said MR Karunanidhi was also unhappy over the Sun group buying the Tamil daily Dinakaran.
They complained that the good rapport they had enjoyed with the pro-DMK paper had vanished after the Marans took charge of it. Party sources also said that MR Karunanidhi did not quite relish Sun TV telecasting one serial after another promoting superstition and “negating the rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement.” When someone questioned how the DMK could accommodate Sun TV in the same premises as the party headquarters even though the channel was propagating superstition, MR Karunanidhi went on the defensive, saying that Sun TV was a mere tenant at Anna Arivalayam, party headquarters.
Sun Network was launched more than 15 years ago by MR Kalanidhi Maran, the eldest son of the late Union minister Murasoli Maran, nephew of MR Karunanidhi. With the divesting of the Karunanidhi family shares, it is said that the network ownership now totally rests with the Maran family, including the younger son Dayanidhi Maran, Union IT and communication minister. Though there are strains developing between the DMK’s first family and the party’s favourite TV channel, MR Dayanidhi remains the eyes and ears in New Delhi for granduncle Karunanidhi.
On his part, the latter has revived the English weekly, The Rising Sun, as a vehicle for expressing his views in print media. Explaining his new charitable trust, MR Karunanidhi said he would be its managing trustee and use the interest out of the corpus deposit, which could work out to RS 2.5 lakhs per month, towards development of Tamil language and providing medical, marriage and educational assistance to the needy.
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