With the private hospital where DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi is admitted announcing on Monday keeping his vital organs functioning was proving to be a challenge for the doctors following a “decline” in his condition, hundreds of his followers and party supporters have gathered outside the hospital.

Karunanidhi has been undergoing treatment at Kauvery Hospital since 28 July when he was admitted there after a dip in his blood pressure.

In a statement issued on Monday, the hospital indicated that the next 24 hours could be crucial.

“There has been a decline in the medical condition of Karunanidhi. Maintaining his vital organ functions continues to remain a challenge considering his age related ailments,” said the statement.

The 94-year-old five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister is being continuously monitored and treated with active medical support. “He is on continuous monitoring and being treated with active medical support. His response to medical interventions over the next 24 hours will determine the prognosis,” said the Kauvery Hospital statement.

The deterioration in his health sparked concerns among DMK workers and well-wishers who started marching towards the hospital located in Alwarpet in the heart of Chennai in hundreds, paralysing traffic in various parts of the city.

Slogans of “Get up and Come” by DMK cadres are renting the air outside the hospital.

When DMK general secretary K. Anbalagan, Karunanidhi’s family members and other leaders rushed to the hospital at night, they had to wade through the swelling crowds.

The supporters can be seen emotional but are still confident that their leader would fight his poor health and come out victorious.

To keep the situation under control, police deployment has been stepped up.

On July 31, the Kauvery Hospital had said: “Although there has been resolution of the condition which led to his hospital admission, an extended period of hospitalisation will be necessary due to age related overall decline in his general health, altered liver function and haematological parameters.”

Late on Monday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari visited the hospital and enquired about Karunanidhi’s health.

In the last 10 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.

(With agency inputs)