Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the towering Dravidian icon, passed away at 6.10 pm on Tuesday, Chennai's Kauvery hospital announced in a statement, triggering an outpouring of grief among his supporters who had come from all across the state in light of the decline in his health.
Here's the full list of dignitaries who will be attending the last rites of Kalaignar Karunanidhi:
General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitharam Yechury and former General Secretary of the CPI(M) Prakash Karat will also be attending the funeral.
Hours after former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi breathed his last, an unfortunate controversy erupted over Kalaignar’s final resting place. The Edappadi Palaniswami-led state government rejected the request made by Karunanidhi’s political heir MK Stalin- to grant him a burial and a memorial on the Marina beach. This led to a furore among DMK supporters and set the stage for a courtroom battle.
How the controversy unfolded:
The Tamil Nadu government allotted two acres of land at the Gandhi Mandapam for the burial of Muthuvel Karunanidhi. Following which, the DMK issued two letters and a number of statements, all of which cited aspects of Karunanidhi's contributions and service to the state over his almost 80-year-long career in politics and social work and the fact that he was Chief Minister on five occasions. With the government unrelenting, the DMK moved the High Court in the matter, with the Madras High Court's acting Chief Justice admitting it for hearing at 10:30 pm.
Muthuvel Karunanidhi was one of the most prominent politicians in the country. Kalaignar, as he was fondly known as, served as Tamil Nadu CM for numerous years, on the Opposition for just as many, and had an influence in the state which few other leaders can match up to. He had been active in politics since 1957, and won 13 straight assembly elections, including to the Tiruvarur seat in 2016.
But life wasn't easy from the onset for Kalaignar. He was one of the rare leaders who made it big without having a political background. Karunanidhi made his name as an acclaimed screenwriter in his early days, before making it big in politics. He served as the Chief Minister of the state on five different occasions before his demise on August 7.