Chennai, Aug 07: Muthuvel Karunanidhi, a champion of Dravidian politics and a five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister, has died. He was 94.
Chennai’s Kauvery hospital said Karunanidhi, the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, died at 6:10 pm today.
“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,” the hospital said.
The Tamil Nadu government announced a seven-day period of mourning, and a holiday on Wednesday.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he was extremely sad to learn of Karunanidhi’s passing. “Our country is poorer today,” he tweeted.
“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,” the President tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 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.”
“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 marginalised,” he tweeted.
J&K Governor N N Vohra has expressed grief over the sad demise of M Karunanidhi, veteran politician and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
In a condolence message Governor has prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family in their hour of grief.
Karunanidhi largely stayed away from active politics since he underwent a surgery in 2016.
His death follows the demise of his arch-rival Jayalalithaa in 2016, bringing to an end an era when electoral fortunes swung, pendulum-like, to either of the these two political titans.
Now, the DMK will look to MK Stalin, one of Karunanidhi’s sons, to lead the charge as Tamil Nadu prepares to vote in next year’s general election. Stalin is already the party’s working president.
Even in his nineties, Karunanidhi was still addressing public meetings; he once said even turning 100 wouldn’t stop him from working for the people. He weathered all manner of challenges and setbacks — including MG Ramachandran’s expulsion from the DMK in 1972, and a squabble involving Stalin and another son, Azhagiri (whom Karunanidhi expelled).
His party has faced charges of corruption, beginning with the Sarkaria Commission’s indictment in the late 1970s to the 2G spectrum case.