New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described DMK president M Karunanidhi as a deep-rooted mass leader who stood for regional aspiration and national progress and will travel to Chennai tomorrow morning to pay his last respect.
Karunanidhi died at 6.10 pm at the age of 94 after prolonged illness. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the DMK leader was one of the leading and longstanding politicians of our country who left a mark of his own during his long public life of about 80 years including 56 years as member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The Prime Minister's Office said Modi will leave for Chennai in the morning and return by evening.
The meeting of the Union Cabinet slated for 1 pm is likely to be postponed. There is no word so far whether it will be held in the evening or on Thursday. Usually, on the demise of a big leader, the Union Cabinet passes a resolution condoling the death.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Kalaignar Karunanidhi. He was one of the senior most leaders of India. 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 in his tweets.
He said that he had the opportunity of interacting with Karunanidhi on several occasions and his understanding of policy and emphasis on social welfare stood out.
He was firmly committed to democratic ideals and his strong opposition to the Emergency will always be remembered, Modi said. "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.
"My thoughts are with the family and the countless supporters of Karunanidhi Ji in this hour of grief. India and particularly Tamil Nadu will miss him immensely. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
The Vice President said Karunanidhi was a multifaceted personality and a gritty fighter and had overcome several challenges during his long stint in public life.
"Being a member of the state Legislative Assembly 13 times since 1957 from seven different constituencies and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times speaks for his deep connect with and influence over the people of the state," Naidu said in his message.