Vaiko

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Vaiko
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
1978-1996
Constituency Tamil Nadu
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
1998-2004
Preceded by V. Alagirisamy
Succeeded by A. Ravichandran
Constituency Sivakasi ,Tamil Nadu[1]
Personal details
Born (1944-05-22) 22 May 1944 (age 74)
Kalingapatty, Sankarankovil,Tirunelveli District Madras Presidency ,British India
Political party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Spouse(s) Renuka Devi
Children Durai Vaiyapuri, Rajalakshmi, Kannagi[2]

Vaiyapuri Gopalsamy, also known as Vaiko, is an Indian politician. He is the founder and General Secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), a political party active mainly in the state of Tamil Nadu. He is known for his advocacy to protect the livelihood of tamils in TamilNadu and rest of the world.[citation needed] Also Vaiko is well known for his continuous support for the self determination rights of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and the LTTE.[citation needed]

Early life and education

V Gopalasamy (வைகோ) was born in Kalingapatty near Sankarankovil, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu).[3][4] He graduated with a Gold Medal in his Bachelor of arts degree in economics from St. Xavier's College, Palayamkottai and masters from Presidency College, Chennai. He obtained his bachelor's degree in law from Madras Law College.[5]

Political career

Vaiko was a part of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D.M.K) and was formerly seen as the ideological protege of former Chief Minister of Tamil , Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi.[citation needed] Vaiko was detained for more than an year in 1976-77 during emergency and for 40 days on charges of organizing black flag demonstration against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s visit to Tamil Nadu in Oct 1977.[citation needed] He has been arrested multiple times for peaceful demonstrations especially during the 1986-87 anti Hindi agitations.[citation needed]

He entered the Rajya Sabha in 1978 and has been member of the Upper House for three terms. He has also been elected to the Lok Sabha twice.[3] In 1993, Vaiko started MDMK due to differences with Karunanidhi amid rumblings that Karunanidhi promoted his son M. K. Stalin to succeed him.[citation needed]

Vaiko was known as "Tiger Of Parliament" due to his vociferous speeches in Parliament.[6][7] Vaiko protested against Kerala's demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar and proposed building of dams in Pambar and Siruvani. Vaiko also supported national interlinking of rivers and Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. Vaiko filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Madras High Court requesting closure of the copper smelting plant of Sterlite Industries in Tuticorin which did not follow the waste management procedures correctly and leading to the closure of the plant.[8]

Vaiko often goes on foot marches along with his party cadres to attract attention to issues.[9]

Support of LTTE

Vaiko unequivocally supported LTTE and other organizations fighting for a separate Tamil country in Sri Lanka.[citation needed] He made a trip to Eelam at the height of the LTTE’s war with Sri Lankan Army.[citation needed] Vaiko was the first member of Parliament and chief of a registered political party in the country to be detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002.[10] He was released after spending 18 months in prison.[11]

In 2008, Criminal Investigation Department of Tamil Nadu police arrested Vaiko on charges of sedition.[12] The charges stemmed from speeches Vaiko made at a party meeting on the Sri Lankan issue and the government's raids into LTTE-held areas on 21 October 2008.[12] After 14 days in judicial custody, Vaiko was released.[13]

He stated that India should retract its ban on the LTTE, claiming the ban was a shield to suppress freedom of expression and stifle the voice of the Opposition.[14][15]


Philanthropy

In 2005, Vaiko started the Marumalarchi Blood Donors' Club.[16] Vaiko has launched many engagement programmes in rural areas with the participation of villagers.[17] Vaiko has undergone a month-long padayatra in Tamil Nadu for the interlinking of inter state rivers in India.[18]

Personal life

He married Renuka Devi on 14 June 1971. Vaiko enjoys writing in his free time and has authored over 50 books apart from regular essays and columns in newspapers.

References

External links