DMK in 1952 general election

12. 1952 General Election

Chapter 12
"Political History of the Rise and Fall of Dravidian Parties in Tamil Nadu (South India)"

Thanjai Nalankilli, Ph.D.

TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2007 (ID. 2007-04-02)
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Table of Contents of the book "Political History of the Rise and Fall of Dravidian Parties in Tamil Nadu (South India)"and links to other chapters


DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

MLA - Members of Legislative Assembly

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) General Council (pothu kuzhu) met in Madurai on November 17, 1951. One of the important topics discussed at the meeting was the forthcoming 1952 general election for the  Indian parliament and Madras State legislative assembly. The following resolution was passed:

"In order to show our protest to the Indian constitution that was prepared according to the dictate of a single party [Congress Party] without understanding the views of the Dravidians and is harmful to the basic rights of the Dravidians, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam would not field candidates in the 1952 election that is being held for the first time under that constitution."

The general council also decided to support Communist Party candidates and other progressive candidates not belonging to the Congress Party who sign the following pledge.

  1. I support independent Dravida Nadu.
  2. If elected to the Madras State legislative assembly or Indian parliament, I will work for Dravida Nadu independence and other DMK ideals.
  3. If elected, I will garner support in the Madras State legislative assembly or Indian parliament for DMK plans to end corruption and dictatorial rule. [Author's Note: DMK is referring to Congress Party rule as dictatorial rule.]

The Communist Party which earlier sought DMK 's support refused to sign the pledge. But over one hundred independent candidates and candidates belonging to smaller parties agreed to signed the pledge. At the State Conference held in Madras (Chennai) in December 1951, DMK decided to support 45 of those candidates in the 1952 election.

According to DMK official history, over 40 candidates won state legislative assembly and parliamentary seats  (T. M. Parthasarathy, Thee Mu Kaa Varalaaru, Bharathi Nilayam, Chennai, 4-th Edition, 1984). This writer is unable to verify these numbers from independent news reports of that time. Official election results are of no help either because they indicate only party affiliation or independent candidature and not whether the candidate was supported by another party or organization like DMK.

Congress Party did not win a majority in the state legislative assembly election but formed the state government with support from some independent candidates. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) became Madras State Chief Minister. Communist Party became the chief opposition party.

Dravida Munnetra Kazahagam's efforts to put together a group consisting of all those who won with its support came to naught when Toiler's Party (Uzaipppaalar Katchi) leader Ramaswamy Padayachchi accepted a minister position and joined the Congress Party. All Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Toilers Party joined Congress, except A. Govindaswamy.

Suyamprakasam, MLA put together a group of about 20 MLAs and formed the "Dravidar Parliamentary Party" and tried to work as a group in the legislative assembly. This group worked independent of DMK. Because of their low number in the legislative assembly they could not achieve anything and faded away.


1952 general election was the first election after the end of British rule. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam took the admirable position of supporting only candidates who would sign a pledge supporting its key ideals. Over half a century has passed as I am writing this article in 2007. DMK had become a powerhouse in Tamilnadu politics but allies with political parties from the Hindi belt that do not support many of its key positions to which DMK still pays lip service. Decisions on alliance are based on the other party's support for a DMK ministry at the state level and how many and which minister posts DMK would get at the Indian central government, irrespective of the other party's political views. We will discuss this in detail when we come to the history of the Dravidian parties in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Some Tamil names are spelled differently by different people. Here are some variations of names used in this chapter:

Dravidar Munnetra Kazhagam - Dravida Munnetta Kazagam

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