Karunanidhi was a father figure to me: Sonia

A Tri-colour is placed on the mortal remains of DMK chief M Karunanidhi as an honour, at Rajaji Hall in Chennai on Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018. Karunanidhi died yesterday after a prolonged illness, the city hospital where the leader was admitted. PTI Photo

Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday penned an emotional tribute to DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi remembering him as a “towering figure” in the world of politics and public service and a “father figure” to her.

In a letter to DMK President M K Stalin, Sonia said Karunanidhi had left a superb and enduring legacy for which he will forever be honoured and remembered.

 

“For me, Kalaignar's loss is very personal. He always showed me great kindness and consideration, which I can never forget. He was like a father figure to me,” Sonia said offering her heartfelt condolences over Karunanidhi's demise.

Congress had a bittersweet relationship with the DMK with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi having dismissed Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's government in 1976 on charges of corruption.

Karunanidhi's government was once dismissed by Prime Minister Chandrashekhar after citing law and order situation in the aftermath of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbedur in Tamil Nadu.

The Congress-DMK ties also hit a new low after the Jain Commission that probed Rajiv Gandhi's assassination found the Dravidian party sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers.

The then Congress President Sonia Gandhi salvaged the ties by personally calling Karunanidhi and starting a coalition that would last a decade.

“Throughout his long and magnificent life, he stood unwaveringly for social justice and equality for the development, progress and prosperity of Tamil Nadu, and for the well being of every citizen, especially the poorest and most marginalised,” Sonia said in a letter dated August 8.

“He was also a brilliant literary figure who did so much to promote Tamil Nadu's rich and distinctive culture and arts, and brought worldwide recognition for it,” Sonia said.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also recalled the “special affection” Karunanidhi had towards him.

“I respected Thiru. Karunanidhi deeply who had a special affection towards me and whenever I went to Chennai, I tried to find the time and meet him personally,” Singh said in a letter to Stalin.

 

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