DMK patriarch Karunanidhi passes away

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Chennai: People gather to pay their last respects to DMK chief M Karunanidhi as his cortege passes through the streets of Chennai, on Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018. (PTI Photo) (PTI8_8_2018_000338B)

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi died on August 8 in Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital. He was 94. The five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital on July 28 after a dip in his blood pressure. On 31 July, the hospital had said that an extended stay in the facility could be necessary due to age-related overall decline in his general health, altered liver function and haematological parameters.

Karunanidhi’s supporters flocked to Kauvery Hospital after the hospital said that his health was declining. Soon after, security was heightened around the hospital premises. A host of dignitaries and political leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, had visited the hospital over the past few days to inquire about the condition of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party veteran. Born on June 3, 1924, in Nagapattinam district’s Thirukkuvalai village in erstwhile Madras presidency, the 94-year-old led Tamil Nadu five times as chief minister. He had contested a dozen Assembly elections in his eight-decade political career and won them all.

A master at mobilising crowds, organising party cadre and raising funds, Karunanidhi became the “go-to man” of the DMK. In 1967, when Annadurai became the chief minister of the state, Karunanidhi was appointed the Minister for Public Works and Highways, the third-ranking job in the state cabinet. After Annadurai’s death in 1969, Karunanidhi became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu as well as the DMK president a pot he held till his death and led the party to a massive victory in the 1971 snap Assembly elections.

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