Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, former DMK Minister and Deputy Speaker and six- time member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly died at his Besant Nagar residence in Chennai on Saturday after a cardiac arrest. He was 59.
A prominent Dalit face of the DMK, Parithi entered the Assembly at the age 25 from Perambur reserved constituency in Chennai in 1984. In the subsequent elections, he got elected from Egmore till 2006.
He served as Deputy Speaker and later as Minister in the Karunanidhi Governments from 1996 to 2001 and again from 2006 to 11.
He lost the 2011 election and joined the AIADMK under J Jayalalitha after he was sidelined by the then emerging DMK leader M K Stalin. After Jayalalitha’s death, he joined hands with rebel leader and Amma Makkal Katchi chief T T V Dinakaran.
His shining moment was when he was the lone ranger for the DMK during Jayalalitha’s first term as Chief Minister from 1991 to 96, as Karunanidhi who got elected from Harbour stayed away from the Assembly all the five years till he returned to power in 1996.
It, therefore, fell on Parithi’s shoulders to take on the corrupt and autocratic rule of Jayalalitha. Most often his remarks against the Government were struck off the record and if he persisted, he was thrown out of the House. To get into the records, he drove his point through satire and subtle humour which appealed to Jayalalitha.
In his tribute, Stalin said Parithi was a favourite of his father Karunanidhi . He admired Parithi’s fighting skill so much that he used to call him Abhijit and Abhimanyu, after Arjun and his son who showed exemplary valour in the Kurukshetra battle.