Mamata to unveil Karunanidhi statue on Wednesday

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI file photo

A 3 km long silent march in the morning to the memorial of M Karunanidhi and a gala event in the evening to unveil a statue of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister at the office of his “first child” Murasoli (the DMK mouthpiece he began editing when he was a teenager).

This is how the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu’s principal Opposition party, will commemorate the first death of its anniversary patriarch Karunanidhi, who passed away on August 7, 2018 due to age-related illness.  

DMK President M K Stalin, Karunanidhi’s younger son who inherited the post from him after being groomed as his political heir, will lead a silent march from the Triplicane police station off the arterial Anna Salai to his father’s memorial on the Marina Beach in the morning.

Karunanidhi was buried next to the resting place of his mentor C N Annadurai on the Marina Beach according to Dravidian customs.

In the evening, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will unveil a statue of Karunanidhi at the head office of Murasoli – the 77-year-old newspaper that was launched by the DMK patriarch when he was just 14 years old. Banerjee will share the dais with leaders from the Congress, Left and other Opposition parties and later address a mega public meeting at the sprawling YMCA grounds.

Stalin met Banerjee immediately after she arrived in Chennai on Tuesday evening.

Besides Mamata, DMK has invited Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for the event. It is not clear whether Abdullah will make it to the event due to restrictions imposed on the Kashmir Valley.

The meeting will be the first congregation of Opposition leaders after the Centre had on Monday abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir. With Stalin already terming the BJP Government’s move as an “assault on federalism and Constitution”, leaders are expected to dwell more on their views not just on Kashmir issue but Centre-State relations as a whole.

This is the second time that the DMK has invited national leaders for unveiling of Karunanidhi’s statue – former Congress President Sonia Gandhi had inaugurated a bronze statue of the late leader in December 2018 during which Stalin had proposed Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK hasn’t missed any opportunity to convert such gathering into an anti-BJP event – the remembrance meet held after Karunanidhi’s death in August 2018 also turned into congregation of anti-BJP leaders whose speeches were directed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi than recalling the late leader’s contributions.

 

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