M Karunanidhi, DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu CM, dies at 94 in Chennai hospital
M Karunanidhi, DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 94.
The Kauvery Hospital said Karunanidhi died at 6.10pm. “Despite the best possible efforts by our team of doctors and nurses to resucitate him, he failed to respond,” said the hospital in a statement, expressing “deep anguish”.
The Madras High Court, meeting at the acting chief justice’s residence, deferred till 8am Wednesday a decision on a DMK petition challenging Tamil Nadu government’s decision refusing permission for Karunanidhi to be buried at Chennai’s Marina Beach.
As many as 6,500 police personnel have been deployed in Chennai and superintendets of police in all districts have been asked to keep forces ready to maintain peace. Chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T K Rajendran met Chief Minister E Palaniswami earlier in the day to review arrangements for Karunanidhi’s final rites. MK Stalin, Karunanidhi’s younger son and political heir, cried as an ambulance with Karunanidhi’s body took the DMK chief’s home in Chennai’s Gopalapuram.
Watch: Karunanidhi: Scriptwriter to maverick politician, the many faces of Kalaignar
“Do not give room for untoward incidents. Maintain peace,” said Stalin in a statement, adding, “Hand over anti-socials to police, they may attempt to tarnish DMK.”
Karunanidhi was shifted to Kauvery Hospital on July 28 after being treated at home for fever and urinary tract infection. Stalin, his elder son MK Alagiri and their half-sister Kanimozhi met Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami at his residence on Tuesday afternoon.
Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1957 and last served as chief minister at the age of 82 in 2006 when the DMK-Congress alliance swept to power. He never lost an election.
The leader was visited at the hospital by several senior politicians including President Ram Nath Kovind, vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, chief minister Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, and actor-politicians Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter he was “deeply saddened” by Karunanidhi’s death. “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 said.
The national flag will fly at half mast in Delhi, all state capitals and across Tamil Nadu on Wednesday as a mark of respect to Karunanidhi. The Tamil Nadu government has declared a seven-day mourning.
Modi, Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will attend Karunanidhi’s last rites in Chennai on Wednesday. Two DMK workers died of heart attack in Mayiladuthurai in Nagapattinam district after getting news about Karunanidhi.