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Tamil Nadu’s Kalaignar M Karunanidhi dies at 94, thousands of supporters outside hospital

Huge numbers of police personnel have been deployed across the state to control the Karunanidhi’s supporters, who were virtually camping outside Kauvery hospital waiting for every single detail from the hospital.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2018 02:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
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A DMK supporter wails as she stands with many others gathered near the Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, where Karunanidhi was admitted.(PTI Photo)

Soon after the news of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s death was confirmed by a hospital in Chennai at 6.10 pm today, thousands were seen weeping, beating their chest and chanting slogan in praise of their Kalaignar in a giant outpouring of grief.

“Veera Vanakkam, Veera vanakkam (brave salute, brave salute),” shouted thousands of DMK workers and leaders as an ambulance carrying Karunanidhi’s body slowly moved through them. MK Stalin, Karunanidhi’s younger son and political heir, broke down as the ambulance left for their Gopalapuram residence.

Karunanidhi, who was admitted to Chennai’s Kauvery hospital on July 28 after he contracted urinary tract infection, died at the age of 94. The DMK patriarch, often referred to as Kalaignar, dominated the political stage of Tamil Nadu like a colossus for nearly six decades, personally undefeated in any election he contested.

Karunanidhi’s body will be kept at Gopalapuram residence till 1 am before being taken to his daughter Kanimozhi’s home in CIT colony in Chennai. Tomorrow morning, Karunanidhi’s mortal remains will be taken to Rajaji hall, where the public will pay tributes to their Kalaignar.

Karunanidhi’s last rites will be performed Wednesday evening, sources have said.

Meanwhile, a controversy has erupted after the state government turned down requests from DMK for permission to bury Karunanidhi next to the samadhi (grave) of his mentor and DMK founder, CN Annadurai at Chennai’s “Anna Square” memorial.

The DMK has moved the Madras High Court against the state government’s decision. Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh is hearing the DMK’s petition.

Karunanidhi’s health took a downturn again on Monday evening when the hospital, in a statement, said that maintaining his “vital organ functions remains a challenge” in view of his age-related ailments and also said the next 24 hours would be crucial.

Earlier in the day, Karunanidhi’s health deteriorated and the hospital said, “Despite the maximum medical support, his vital organ functions continue to deteriorate. His condition is extremely critical and unstable.”

Karunanidhi’s family including MK Stalin and his estranged son MK Alagiri, who was also a DMK leader before being expelled by his father after a long power struggle, daughter Kanimozhi were present at the hospital.

For years, Karunanidhi lived a secluded life making no public appearance except occasional visits to his party office.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 19:26 IST