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R.M. Veerappan, the most trusted lieutenant of late MGR, Passes away

The Tamil Nadu political landscape lost a significant figure with the passing of R.M. Veerappan, one of the most trusted lieutenants of the late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), on April 9th. Veerappan, fondly known as RMV, was a powerful minister in MGR’s cabinet during the 1980s and remained a close associate of the matinee-icon-turned-politician.

From Theater to Films to Politics

RMV’s journey began in the world of theater, where he joined the drama troupe Balashanmugananda Sabha. He later became an agent for Dravida Nadu, the official organ of the Dravidar Kazhagam, and even stayed with the legendary Periyar E.V. Ramasamy for a while. His foray into the world of films led him to join MGR’s troupe in 1953, a relationship that would prove pivotal in his political career.

The Rise of RMV: MGR’s Trusted Confidant

RMV’s relationship with MGR was a close and multifaceted one. He became a partner in MGR’s production company, MGR Pictures, and the blockbuster film Nadodi Mannan further cemented their bond. When MGR launched the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, RMV was by his side. He was appointed as the Minister of Information, despite not being an MLA, and later served as the Minister of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department.

The Fallout with Jayalalithaa

RMV’s political career took a turn when he shared a dais with actor Rajinikanth during the success celebrations of the film Baashha, where the actor criticized the AIADMK government “for the deterioration of law and order in the State.” This angered then-Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who summoned RMV and demanded an explanation. Despite his attempts to convince Jayalalithaa, she was not satisfied and ultimately expelled him from the party in 1995.

Attempts to Revive his Political Career

After his expulsion from the AIADMK, RMV sought to revive his political fortunes by launching his own party, MGR Kazhagam, and banking heavily on Rajinikanth’s support. However, the actor remained elusive and instead supported the DMK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in the 1996 general elections.

The Unsung Architect of MGR’s Success

While RMV’s political career had its ups and downs, his legacy as a trusted confidant of MGR is undeniable. He was the “sculptor who chiseled MGR,” as described by the late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. RMV’s strategic thinking and organizational skills were instrumental in MGR’s electoral victories, such as his idea to use the photograph of MGR with a bandage on his neck in the 1967 Assembly elections.

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