DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)
Abbreviation DMK
Leader M. Karunanidhi
Founder C.N.Annadurai
Founded 1949
Headquarters Anna Arivalayam, Anna Salai, Chennai – 600018
Labour wing Labour Progressive Federation
Ideology Social Democracy
Left-wing populism
Democratic socialism
Political position Centre Left
ECI Status State Party
Newspaper Murasoli & The Rising Sun
Seats in Lok Sabha 0 / 545
Seats in Rajya Sabha 4 / 245
Election symbol DMK
 Helpline  +91 – 9718500606
 Email id [email protected]
 Official Website


DMK traces its roots to the South Indian Liberal Federation (Justice Party) formed in 1916, by P. Thyagaraya Chetty, Dr. P.T. Rajan, Dr. C. Natesa Mudaliar and a few others. The Justice Party, whose objectives included social equality and justice, came to power in the first General Elections to the Madras Presidency in 1920. E. V. Ramasami Naicker (“Periyar”), a popular Tamil reformist leader of the time, had joined Indian National Congress in 1919, to oppose what he considered the Brahminic leadership of the party.

Naicker’s experience at the Vaikom Satyagraha made him to start the Self-Respect Movement in 1926 which was rationalistic and “anti-Brahministic”. He quit Congress and in 1935, he joined the Justice Party. In the 1937 elections, the Justice Party lost and the Indian National Congress under C. Rajagopalachari (“Rajaji”) came to power in Madras Presidency. Rajaji’s introduction of Hindi as a compulsory subject in schools led to the anti-Hindi agitations, led by Periyar and his associates.

The DMK and its prime opposition party, the ADMK have posted an array of populist schemes targeting the human development index of the state. Most of the schemes are accused to be targeting garner larger electoral support. Both the parties have schemes listed in the election manifestos covering various segments of the population involving fishermen, farmers and school children.

Till the 2000s, the parties had welfare schemes like maternity assistance, subsidised public transport and educational grants. After the 2000s, the parties started competing at an increasing level over the distribution of consumer goods. The ADMK government distributed free cycles to class 11 and class 12 students during its tenure of 2001–06. The DMK, in competition, promised free colour televisions in its manifesto in 2006 elections. The competition continued during the 2011 elections when both parties announced free laptops for schools students and grinder, mixer and fans for public.