Karunakaran dies at 92

Karunakaran dies at 92

Karunakaran or “leader” as he was fondly called was hospitalised on December 10 with breathing problems and he had to be put on life-support systems. Though he did show signs of recovery two days ago, his condition worsened again on Wednesday and the end came at 5:30 pm on Thursday.

A large number of Congress workers and leaders cutting across party lines including Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan turned up at the hospital and later streamed to his residence “Kalyani” here to pay their respects. The body will be taken to Thrissur district on Friday and cremated on Saturday at his ancestral house beside the final resting place of his wife Kalyanikutty Amma.

One of the most powerful and influential political leaders from the South, Karunakaran dominated Kerala’s political landscape for about four decades as Opposition Leader, Chief Minister and CWC member.

He was the founder of the United Democratic Front and the manner in which he deftly managed the front by even engineering splits whenever he came under pressure is history. However, he seemed to have erred in deciding to leave the Congress in 2005 at the instance of his son K Muralidharan.

Though he returned two years ago, Karunakaran died a dejected man as his pleas to take back his son are yet to be honoured and a battle is on in the party to hijack his legacy.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister P Chidambaram are slated to pay their respects here on Friday while the Prime Minister’s Office has intimated that Singh would attend his funeral on Saturday.

Defence Minister A K Antony with whom Karunakaran had a Tom and Jerry like run-in for many years described him as a “legendary hero” who was a kingmaker at the national level and a “development hero” in the state.

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