Scenes of intense emotion were witnessed outside the Kauvery Hospital in Chennai as a sea of supporters of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi thronged Alwarpet for updates on the health of the former five-time Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Thousands of DMK supporters, both men and women, waved the party’s red-and-black flags and photos of Karunanidhi outside the hospital on a humid evening. While many supporters displayed their pain through tears, some fainted as hospital authorities said that Karunanidhi’s health was declining.
Chennai was put on high alert as heavy police net was thrown around the hospital as well as the Gopalapuram residence of the DMK patriarch, who is hailed as one of the tallest political figures in the history of South India’s politics.
The Tamil Nadu Police chief on Tuesday ordered maximum deployment of the police force across the state.
Kauvery Hospital on Tuesday described the 94-year-old Karunanidhi’s condition as “extremely critical and unstable”.
“There has been significant decline in the clinical condition of Karunanidhi over the last few hours. Despite maximum medical support, his vital organ functions continue to deteriorate. His condition is extremely critical and unstable,” a hospital statement said.
Press release from Kauvery Hospital. pic.twitter.com/ZK27g42GAd
— KalaignarKarunanidhi (@kalaignar89) August 7, 2018
Today marks the 11th day since he was rushed to the hospital when his blood pressure dipped all of a sudden.
“Ezhundhu Vaa Thalaivaa” (Awake, our leader) and “Vaa, Vaa, Gopalapuram Polaam Vaa” (Come, Come, let’s go to Gopalapuram) were among the slogans raised by the emotionally-charged crowd, referring to the locality where the former Chief Minister has a house.
Earlier in the day, Karunanidhi’s son and DMK leader MK Stalin met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami along with his family members and senior party colleagues. The meeting took place at Palaniswami’s residence.
On Monday, the hospital said Karunanidhi’s response to medical intervention over the next 24 hours would determine the prognosis.
Karunanidhi has been a five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He was admitted to the hospital for the first time on 18 July for change of tracheostomy tube. On 26 July, the hospital said that Karunanidhi was suffering from urinary tract infection and he was being treated with intravenous anti-biotics and fluids.
He was readmitted on 28 July as his condition turned worse.
In the last 11 days, the DMK patriarch has been visited by President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and leaders from various parties.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to visit the hospital tonight to enquire about the health of Karunanidhi.
Born on 3 June 1924, Karunanidhi was an established poet and author before he took the political plunge with DMK under CN Annadurai. In his long political career, Kalaignar, as he is called by supporters, never lost an assembly election and triggered some of the biggest developments in Dravidan politics.