Kerala Bids Farewell to Karunakaran

Kerala Bids Farewell to Karunakaran
Congress stalwart and four-time Chief Minister K Karunakaran was today cremated with full state honours as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a large number of people paid a tearful adieu to the colossus of Kerala politics.

After the family members performed last rituals, a gun salute was accorded and Seva Dal volunteers paid their respects shortly before Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan lit the funeral pyre adjacent to the memorial of his mother, Kalyanikutti Amma, who died 15 years ago.

The cremation was held at 'Muralimandiram', the house of Karunakaran.

The Prime Minister flew down to Kerala today to pay respects to his erstwhile cabinet colleague in the P V Narasimha Rao Government in the 90s and one who had dominated Kerala politics in his seven-decade-old chequered career.

After placing a wreath, the Prime Minister spoke to Karunakaran's son and daughter Padmaja Venugopgal.

Singh also spoke to Karunakaran's younger brother, Appunni Marar, and told him that the Congress veteran was a "good colleague".

Soon after the Prime Minister left the Town Hall, Karunakaran's mortal remains were taken to the DCC office for a brief while and then to the leader's house for cremation.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had paid her respects to Karunakaran yesterday at Thiruvananthapuram.

Earlier, thousands of Congress workers paid homage to Karunakaran as his body was brought by road from Thiruvananthapuram, where he died on December 23 after protracted illness.

The journey took 18 hours to reach his home town Thrissur this morning as the cortege had to be stopped at various places to enable the Congress workers and public to pay their respects.

Union ministers A K Antony, Mullapally Ramachandran, Vayalar Ravi, K V Thomas, state ministers-- Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, M A Baby, K P Rajendran, Kadanapally Ramachandran, and Jose Thettayil, Opposition leader Oommen Chandy, KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala were among those present at the cremation.
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