South Indian actor-politician Vijayakanth dies at 71

He was put on ventilator support after he complained of breathing problems

By ANI

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Published: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 8:12 AM

Last updated: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 9:56 AM

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder-leader and actor Vijayakanth passed away in Chennai aged 71 after testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the party informed through a post on its official X handle that Vijayakanth was admitted to a hospital and put on ventilator support after he complained of breathing problems.

His mortal remains were brought to his residence and will be taken to the DMDK office shortly.

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Earlier, in November, Vijayakanth was admitted to MIOT Hospital in Chennai as his health deteriorated.

Suffering from cough and throat pain, he was under the observation of doctors for 14 days.

Widely known as 'Captain', Vijayakanth's life is marked by a successful career in the Tamil film industry. He featured in 154 movies before venturing into politics.

While holding a position at Nadigar Sangam (officially known as the South Indian Artistes' Association (SIAA)), Vijayakanth brought revolutionary changes to the South film industry. He founded Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazgam in 2005.

In 2006, DMDK contested in all assembly seats and bagged a lowly 10 per cent of the total vote share. However, none of the party's candidates, apart from the founder-leader came out on the winning side.

In 2011, DMDK fought the elections in alliance with the AIADMK and contested 41 constituencies, winning 26. The Captain's party scripted history, winning more seats than the DMK in 2011 and emerged as the principal Opposition Party that year.

Vijayakanth served as the leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly from 2011-2016. Later, owing to differences of opinion, the DMDK broke ties with the AIADMK, resulting in bulk resignations of DMDK MLAs. The party, therefore, lost its status of being the main Opposition party.

He served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly twice, representing the Virudhachalam and Rishivandiyam constituencies.

The DMDK contested the 2014 parliament elections in alliance with the NDA but faced a huge defeat and its vote percentage saw a significant drop.

In the 2016, 2019 and 2021 elections, the DMDK didn't perform well as Vijayakanth battled health complications.

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