Karunanidhi’s condition extremely critical, tension grips Chennai

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Chennai, Aug 7 (IANS) DMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s health deteriorated further on Tuesday, with Kauvery Hospital describing his 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.

Karunanidhi, 94, a five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, has been warded in the hospital located at Alwarpet in the heart of Chennai since July 28 when his blood pressure dipped all of a sudden.

Even before the Tuesday evening statement, thousands of DMK supporters, both men and women, began massing outside the hospital, some waving the party’s red-and-black flags and photos of one of India’s most veteran politicians.

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“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.

But after the latest medical bulletin, many in the crowd started to weep on the barricaded streets.

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

Director General of Police T.K. Rajendran asked all Superintendents of Police, City Police Commissioners and others to direct officials under them to report to them immediately in uniform without delay.

The government ordered the closure of liquor shops at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The police presence was increased outside the Kauvery Hospital. Police prevented some party members trying to enter the hospital.

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Earlier in the day, Karunanidhi’s son and DMK leader M.K. 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.

Amid rising concerns over Karunanidhi’s health, many in Chennai began to stock essentials like vegetables and milk, fearing a shutdown in the city and across Tamil Nadu.

Many office-goers were asked by family members to head home at the earliest.

The crowds outside the hospital started to swell after the medical bulletin issued by Kauvery Hospital on Monday evening said that Karunanidhi’s condition had deteriorated.

On Monday, the hospital said Karunanidhi’s response to medical intervention over the next 24 hours would determine the prognosis.

“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 hospital statement.

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The DMK chief was admitted to the hospital for the first time on July 18 for change of tracheostomy tube.

On July 26, the hospital said Karunanidhi was suffering from urinary tract infection and he was being treated with intravenous anti-biotics and fluids.

However, the DMK leader’s condition turned bad on July 28 with a drop in his blood pressure and he was shifted to the hospital. He has remained there since then.

Since then, a virtual Who’s Who of Indian politics, ranging from President Ram Nath Kovind to Chief Ministers, have flown to Chennai to meet Karunanidhi’s anguished family members.



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