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TN Assembly lauds Karunanidhi's 50 yrs as legislator
May 11, 2007 19:28 IST
A two-day function to mark Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi completing 50 years as a legislator got off to a flying start on Friday, under the shadow of violent manifestation of feud in his family leading to attack on Tamil newspaper Dinakaran's office.
Main oppositition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which had questioned the claim of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam that its leader had completed 50 years in the state legislature and its ally, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, boycotted the felicitation organised by the state assembly at the historic Fort St.George built by British army officer Robert Clive over three centuries ago.
Governor S S Barnala, the DMK chief's close friend who refused to recommend imposition of President's rule and dismissal of Karunanidhi government in 1991, broke convention to make a rare appearance in the assembly to lead a galaxy of leaders in greeting Karunanidhi.
Leaders showered praises on Karunanidhi, the grand old man of Tamil Nadu politics who entered the state assembly in 1957 and was elected to the House on all the eleven occasions he contested the polls.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and other top national leaders would be felicitating him at a rally on Friday evening.
Karunanidhi's elder son M K Azhagiri, who is in the eye of a political storm because his supporters had attacked Dinakaran's office at Madurai on Wednesday, did not attend the assembly function.
Dayanidhi Maran, Union IT minister and grand nephew of Karunanidhi, was conspicuous by his absence while other DMK ministers in the Manmohan Singh ministry, T R Baalu and A Raja were present, besides all DMK MPs.
Describing octogenarian Karunanidhi as 'the people's chief minister', Barnala said he stood as a role model for members of the legislature at all times.
"We have seen many types of golden jubilee celebrations. The only person in India who has seen golden jubilee in legislature through 50 years of democracy is Karunanidhi. This goes to prove that he is a great genius as far as the philosophy of democracy is concerned," he said.
Recalling that he knew Karunanidhi for nearly four decades, Barnala said he had stood firm during difficult times and went through trials and tribulations for the cause of Tamils and Tamil Nadu.
Karunanidhi, in his acceptance speech, took members and invitees present at a special session of the state Assembly down memory lane, narrating various anecdotes from his chequered political career.
The emotionally-overwhelmed leader offered to give an acceptance speech, deviating from the original programme schedule, after listening to Barnala and leaders of various legislature parties who felicitated him.
A nostalgic Karunanidhi said he could visualise late chief ministers K Kamaraj, Bakthavatsalam, C N Annadurai and M G Ramachandran who had occupied his seat in the past.
Pointing to a huge portrait of saint-poet Tiruvallur inside the House, Karunanidhi narrated how he insisted upon the then chief minister Bakthavatsalam to unveil the portrait. Karunanidhi had a little bit of advice to the MLAs - "Do your homework before coming to the House."