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Karunanidhi passes away at age 94 | Thousands mourn, PM Modi expresses grief

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi passed away at age 94. Kauvery Hospital issued a statement on Tuesday evening.

SNS | New Delhi |

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi passed away at age 94.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Kauvery Hospital said that doctors tried to resuscitate him but the former five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu failed to respond.

“With deep anguish, we announce the demise of our beloved Kalaignar Dr M Karunanidhi on 7.8.2018 at 6.10 PM. Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to resuscitate him, he failed to respond.

“We profoundly mourn the loss of one of the tallest leaders of India and we share the grief of family members and fellow Tamilians worldwide,” read the statement.

 

Karunanidhi 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.

Just hours before announcing his death, the hospital had stated that Karunanidhi’s health was “extremely critical and unstable”.

Thousands of DMK supporters waiting outside the hospital for updates about the health of their leader broke down as the news of his death came in.

Condolences pour in

President Ram Nath Kovind was among the first to express his condolences on the passing of Karunanidhi.

“Extremely sad to learn of the passing of Thiru M. Karunanidhi. A doyen of our public life, as a contributor to the development of Tamil Nadu and of India he has few peers. Our country is poorer today. My condolences to his family and millions of well-wishers,” said the President on Twitter.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a series of tweets to express his grief at the passing of the heavyweight who shaped Dravidan politics over a period of six decades.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of Kalaignar Karunanidhi. He was one of the senior most leaders of India. We have lost a deep-rooted mass leader, prolific thinker, accomplished writer and a stalwart whose life was devoted to the welfare of the poor and the marginalized,” the PM wrote on Twitter while posting pictures of him with the veteran politician.

“Kalaignar Karunanidhi stood for regional aspirations as well as national progress. He was steadfastly committed to the welfare of Tamils and ensured that Tamil Nadu’s voice was effectively heard,” said the PM.

“I have had the opportunity of interacting with Karunanidhi Ji on several occasions. His understanding of policy and emphasis on social welfare stood out. Firmly committed to democratic ideals, his strong opposition to the Emergency will always be remembered,” he said.

“My thoughts are with the family and the countless supporters of Karunanidhi Ji in this hour of grief. India and particularly Tamil Nadu will miss him immensely. May his soul rest in peace,” added the PM.

 

 

 

 

“Deeply saddened at the passing away of Kalaignar M Karunanidhi.60 years a legislator,5 times CM & a pillar of many coalitions at the Centre,he influenced his State’s & the National politics like few others. My deepest condolences to his family & admirers.He will be missed deeply,” wrote former President Pranab Mukherjee.

 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “Loved by the Tamilian people, Kalaignar strode the stage of Tamil politics, like a colossus, for over 6 decades. In his passing, India has lost a great son. My condolences to his family as also to the millions of Indians who grieve for their beloved leader tonight.”

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be in Chennai on 8 August for Karnuanidhi’s funeral.

Other top names from the world of politics, cinema, sports, business and public life expressed their grief on various social media platforms.

Tears amidst heavy security 

Scenes of intense emotion were witnessed as a sea of supporters of Karunanidhi wailed and beat their chests upon learning of the death of the DMK chief. Many fainted as they learned of the news.

 

DMK Karunanidhi extremely critical
A woman outside the Kauvery Hospital where Karunanidhi is admitted, in Chennai, on Aug 7, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

 

Thousands of DMK supporters, both men and women, waved the party’s red-and-black flags and photos of Karunanidhi outside the hospital remembering their leader.

Overcome by a sense of personal loss, many DMK leaders were unable to speak to media persons and were seen visibly crying at the departure of the patriarch of one of the most powerful parties of the country.

A seven-day official mourning has been announced in Tamil Nadu. The government announced a state holiday on 8 August.

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. The Tamil Nadu Police chief had early on Tuesday ordered maximum deployment of the police force across the state.

Controversy over Karunanidhi’s burial site?

The Tamil Nadu government has denied DMK’s request for burial of their supremo at Marina Beach.

Reports say that Karunanidhi’s body will be taken to his Gopalapuram residence before it is placed for public tributes in Rajaji Hall. Reports say that his body might also be taken to Anna Arivalayam, the DMK office located in Anna Salai, Chennai.

Read More: Karunanidhi burial row: DMK cadres go on rampage, High Court to hear plea tonight

Reports said that the party wants his mortal remains to be laid to rest in Anna Memorial where DMK founder CN Annadurai was cremated in 1969. A DMK spokesperson had told reporters that they had sought permission from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to allow Karunanidhi to be buried at Marina Beach.

The state government reportedly cited rules which dictate that no one other than sitting CMs who die in office are allowed to be buried at Marina.

Marina Beach is the site of MGR memorial where the bodies of both AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran as well as that of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa are buried.

Kalaignar

Born on 3 June 1924 in Thirukuvalai, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Nagapattinam District), Karunanidhi was an established poet and author before he took the political plunge with DMK under CN Annadurai.

He first became Chief Minister in 1969 immediately after Annadurai’s death.

MUST READ: How M Karunanidhi became Kalaignar | Life and time of the DMK patriarch

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.

His son, MK Stalin, took over the reins of the party as working president in January 2017 as the health of his father continued to deteriorate.

Married three times, Karunanidhi is succeeded by six children, four sons and two daughters. One of his daughters K Kanimozhi is a senior leader of the party and an MP.

His death marks the end of the central period of Dravidan era of politics. For over five decades, Karunanidhi remained a major force in Tamil politics alongside his rivals, AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and his successor J Jayalalithaa.