Paying rich tributes to Karunanidhi, opposition calls for unity against BJP

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Chennai : Paying rich tributes for late DMK President and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at the memorial meeting 'Sun that rose in the South,' leaders of various political parties, regional and national, called for the opposition unity against the BJP government at the Centre.

The memorial meeting was organised by the DMK under the leadership of party President M.K. Stalin.

Leaders said there is an Emergency-like situation prevailing in the country which needs to be opposed strongly and unitedly.

BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, one of the earliest speakers, recalled DMK's association with Jan Sangh and later with BJP.

"It was DMK and Jan Sangh that first opposed the dominance of Congress party. Karunanidhi's association with Jan Sangh and BJP was long and cordial," Gadkari said.

According to Gadkari, DMK and Jan Sangh were the two parties that first opposed the Emergency.

The DMK government in Tamil Nadu was dismissed during the Emergency rule and thousands of the party activists were arrested, Gadkari recalled and left the venue early.

Countering Gadkari was the Chief Minister of Pudhucherry V. Narayanasamy who said it was Karunanidhi who aligned with Congress.

It was Karunanidhi who said self-rule in the State and joint rule at the Centre.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said unless all opposition parties are united against the Central government, the country would go down, as the nation was facing a major trouble.

He said the opposition parties have to fight dictatorship.

Abdullah said DMK members may not believe in God but he strongly believes in God. "It is only God who knows what price the nation has to pay till the change comes," he said.

He said if one has to remember Karunanidhi than all should fight for the survival of the nation.

"Let us unite and fight the facist forces," Abdullah said.

Declaring that there is a problem in his home state Jammu & Kashmir, Abdullah said: "We are Indian Muslims. We will not become Pakistanis."

Abdullah also demanded the Governor of a state should be elected by the state and not be sent by the Centre.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said there may not be an Emergency in the country, but "much worse" was being done now.

Azad said there is visible centralization of power by the central government.

Like Karunanidhi who had spoken against imposition of Emergency in 1975, Stalin should voice his opposition against the Central government, Azad said.

Karunanidhi had courted both Congress and BJP, but never compromised on his ideology.

Azad said the DMK under Karunanidhi might have joined hands with BJP mainly due to the personal equation he had with former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Karunanidhi had a sublime sense of humour and had once said no communist party leader would name his/her son as Stalin as he had done for his son.

Karunanidhi fought against the Emergency. It was during DMK's rule with Karunanidhi as Chief Minister that the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution condemning Emergency.

Yechury said Karunanidhi inherited a legacy of self-respect, rationalist principles, social justice and equality from rationalist leader late E.V.Ramasamy or Periyar and late DMK leader C.N.Annadurai.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the leader of Janata Dal (United) said Karunanidhi fought for the rights and welfare of poor and backward classes and also for press freedom.

Karunanidhi was active in drawing up the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the coalition government led by BJP party under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he added.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and leader of Janatal Dal (Secular) said with the passing of Karunanidhi, the glorious chapter in regional politics had come to an end.

Gowda said the country lost a mass leader who devoted his life for the poor.

According to Gowda, the contribution of Karunanidhi for the Dravidian movement is immeasurable.

Karunanidhi played an important role in maintaining stability of a coalition government at the centre.

Speaking in Tamil, Derek O' Brien of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Rajya Sabha member said Karunanidi was a great person with modern thoughts who opposed imposition of Hindi.

"We should show Delhi that when you come to West Bengal you should learn Bengali and when you come to Tamil Nadu, you should learn Tamil," he said.

According to him those parties that believe in coalition governance should come together for 2019 elections and capture power in Delhi.

"I am ready, are you ready," he asked.