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BJP pays tributes to Karunanidhi at memorial event


Press Trust of India Chennai
The BJP today paid rich tributes to former DMK president M Karunanidhi, hailing his efforts to uphold democracy and in the process facing difficulties during the Emergency.
At a memorial event for the late leader, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said DMK and erswhile Jan Sangh were the "first two parties" to "challenge the domination of Congress" and oppose the imposition of Emergency by then Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi.
Karunanidhi had made "immense contributions" for Indian democracy and India, he said.
In his address at the DMK-sponsored meeting, titled "Therkil Uditha Sooriyan" (Sun who rose from South), Gadkari said DMK and many of its leaders including party president M K Stalin had suffered during the emergency.
Karunanidhi, who was the state chief minister during the emergency, was one of the first to oppose it. He and DMK had to suffer a lot due to his principled stand, Gadkari said.
"The DMK government was dismissed and thousands of DMK cadres including M K Stalin were arrested and detained," the former BJP chief said.
Recalling Karunanidhi's "concern and deep commitment for democracy in India," he said the Dravidian stalwart had during emergency organised a "massive meeting" here where an oath was administered to protect democracy in India, free national leaders and protect the media's legitimate rights.
"This was a historic event in the history of our country," he said.
Recalling Karunanidhi's 'long' association with BJP, especially its tall leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Gadkari said "it is quite a coincidence these two great sons of mnother India left us in quick succession early this month."

The ideologies of the Dravidian movement and BJP had many similarities, including learning from "our glorious heritage," he said.
He recalled that following Karunanidhi's death on August 7, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned as a "tribute to this great leader," and said it was the first time such a respect was shown for a leader who had not been a MP.
Karunanidhi was a tall leader who struck a 'fine balance' in advancing ideology and at the same time working with parties with opposing ideologies in national and public interest, he said, describing the late leader as "a visionary in this aspect."

Responding to Gadkari, Congress leader and Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy recalled that Karunanidhi had later extended support to both Indira Gandhi and former congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"It is out of our respect, we had announced installing a bronze statue for Kalaignar in Puducherry following his death," he said.
Citing his tussle with Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, he recalled Karunanidhi's efforts towards upholding regional autonomy.

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First Published: Aug 30 2018 | 7:55 PM IST

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