Shah to attend Karuna memorial event

After DMK sent out invites, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted that BJP president Amit Shah has decided not to participate in the memorial event. However, DMK leaders said they have not received any information about cancellation of Shah's visit. PTI

BJP president Amit Shah will attend the special public memorial meeting for late DMK chief M Karunanidhi here on Thursday along with leaders from Opposition parties — a move that has left many tongues wagging in political circles in Tamil Nadu.

This is the first time that a senior BJP leader of Shah's stature will be seen beside DMK working president M K Stalin, who would take over as party president by Thursday since the regional party left the NDA way back in 2003.

From 2003 till now, the BJP was not part of the DMK's scheme of things — the party singled out the BJP and AIADMK by not inviting them for Karunanidhi's 93rd birthday celebrations in Chennai last year.

The event, attended by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders, was touted as a congregation of anti-BJP leaders.

Though DMK leaders maintain that "no political meaning" should be attached to the August 30 event as it is dedicated to recall Karunanidhi's contributions, political circles are abuzz with speculation as to whether DMK was planning to keep its options open, at least in a post-poll scenario.

Shah will share the dais with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja.

Chief Ministers N Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi) and V Narayanasamy (Puducherry) will also address the gathering, according to the invitation sent by the DMK.

The DMK had initially planned to organise a conference on state autonomy on the said date with participation from Opposition party leaders across the country but converted it into the memorial event.

"The only addition to the list is the BJP and it was made since the event's format changed. Since Karunanidhi played a major role in national politics by cobbling up coalition governments, it was felt imperative to invite leaders from all parties, including the BJP," a senior DMK leader told DH, refusing to attach any political significance to Shah’s presence.

The DMK also scotched speculation that Rahul opted out of the meeting after Shah confirmed his presence, saying the Congress president had not confirmed his presence even for the scheduled state autonomy conference.

Through Shah's presence, the BJP may be indicating that it had no role in the decision to refuse land on Marina beach for Karunanidhi's burial, political observers feel.

After DMK sent out invites, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted that Shah has decided not to participate in the memorial event. However, DMK leaders said they have not received any information about cancellation of Shah's visit.

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Shah to attend Karuna memorial event

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