Karuna's death leaves India poorer, says Prez Kovind

  • The mortal remains will be taken the Gopalapuram residence
  • Public can pay respects at Rajaji hall on Wednesday
  • Final rites on Wednesday
Tamil Nadu has declared a week-long official mourning to mark the death of its beloved leader: Photo | Reuters

Chennai: Describing former Tamil Nadhu chief minister M Karunanidhi as a doyen of public life, president Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday expressed grief over his death, saying the country is poorer today.

"Extremely sad to learn of the passing away of 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," Kovind tweeted.

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed his anguish over the death of DMK President M Karunanidhi.

In a series of tweets, Modi said: "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."

Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami said in a statement that he was anguished on hearing about the demise of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, a very senior politician and a leader of the DMK for 50 long years.

Karunanidhi fought for social justice, the chief minister said. His death is a great loss to the state. He offered his condolences to the late leader's family members.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said India has lost a great son, someone who strode the stage of Tamil politics like a colossus for over six decades.

"Loved by the Tamilian people, Kalaignar strode the stage of Tamil politics, like a colossus, for over 6 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 tonight," Gandhi said in a tweet.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee mourned the death saying the country has lost one of its greatest sons.

"Today India lost one of its greatest sons. And Tamil Nadu lost its father figure. Farewell Kalaignar. My deepest condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu, DMK and family. India mourns your loss," Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle.

The mortal remains of DMK President M Karunanidhi will be taken to his home at Gopalapuram here from the Kauvery Hospital and then to Rajaji Hall for people to pay their last respects, said a senior DMK leader.

As per plans, Karunanidhi's mortal remains will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

Karunanidhi, chief minister of Tamil Nadu for five times, died on Tuesday evening at the Kauvery Hospital.