New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) National leaders on Tuesday condoled the death of DMK President M. Karunanidhi, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi announcing they would attend his last rites in Chennai on Wednesday.
Leaders across party lines expressed grief over the death of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister including President Ram Nath Kovind, Modi, Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“Extremely sad… 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,” President Kovind wrote on Twitter.
Modi expressed his anguish in a series of tweets.
“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.
“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,” Modi said.
Modi said he had the opportunity of interacting with Karunanidhi 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.”
Rahul Gandhi said India lost a great son, who strode the stage of Tamil politics like a colossus for over six 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,” he said.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee said Karunanidhi will be deeply missed.
“Sixty years a legislator, five times CM and a pillar of many coalitions at the Centre, he influenced his state’s and the national politics like few others. My deepest condolences to his family and admirers,” Mukherjee tweeted.
BJP President Amit Shah said no one can forget his struggle during the Emergency.
Among other national leaders, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury also condoled the death of the DMK stalwart.
Karunanidhi, 94, passed away on Tuesday evening. He was admitted to the hospital on July 28 and his condition worsened on Monday.