Rich Tributes Paid to Karunakaran

Rich Tributes Paid to Karunakaran
President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi led the nation in mourning the death of former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran, hailing him as a "visionary" leader and a "true patriot."

Prime Minister Singh will attend the funeral of Karunakaran in Thrissur on Saturday, an official said tonight.

In her condolence message, Patil said the nation has lost the "longest serving public figure and a visionary."

"The nation has lost a personality who was always in touch with grassroots," she added.

Vice President Hamid Ansari noted that Karunakaran had a "significant record" of service to the country and especially to the state of Kerala during his many years in public life.

Prime Minister Singh said Karunakaran was a true patriot who served the country and Kerala with deep commitment and untiring zeal in a public career spanning more than six decades.

Singh said he had the privilege of benefitting from Karunakaran’s wisdom and experience many times. "He was generous with his advice, which was always sagacious," he said, adding the former chief minister was widely respected for his qualities of head and heart.

Sonia Gandhi said the party has lost a national leader who was a voice of secularism and national integrity.

"In his death, the Congress party has lost not only a great leader from Kerala but also a national leader who was a voice for secularism and national integrity. In his death, the Congress party has lost a great leader whose absence will be deeply felt by all Congressmen across the country," Gandhi said in her message.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said Karunakaran was a political stalwart and "tall" leader of the Congress party who served the nation with distinction and acumen.

Krishna said that Karunakaran during his several innings as chief minister of Kerala was instrumental in bringing about rapid socio-economic development of the state.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Karunakaran will be remembered for his "kind-heartedness and his down-to-earth behaviour.

Defence Minister A K Antony condoled the Karunakaran's death describing him as a legendary leader whom people of Kerala would never forget.

Talking to reporters, Antony, who flew in from New Delhi by a special flight in the evening, said Karunakaran had the will and determination to execute development projects which other administrators could never dream of.

He had the first place among politicians in Kerala in terms of carrying out development projects, he said.

"We had differences of opinion at certain points of our career. But my friendship and association with Karunakaran was very strong," Antony said.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), State President, Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal and P K Kunhalikutty, General Secretary, also condoled the sad demise of Karunakaran.

In their condolence messages, Thangal said Karunakaran's administrative efficiency laid the foundation for the modern Kerala.

Karunakaran has unique ability to overcome all problems and that should be a model for all the politicians. Karunakaran was like a family member of IUML, they said.

In his condolence message sent to Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said, "I am deeply shocked and grieved to hear about the demise of your father. He was a veteran leader and Parliamentarian who had dedicated himself for the cause of the people. His death is an irreparable loss to the nation and to Kerala in paticular".

"I convey my sincere condolences to you and to the bereaved members of the family", Barnala said.

In his condolence message, KPCC President G Parameshwara recalled that Karunakaran had rendered an yeomen service to the country and also to people of Kerala.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed shock and profound grief over the Karunakaran's death saying, "Karunakaran has been popular not only in his home state but also outside."

"I am shocked to hear about the death of Karunakaran, a master tactician and effective leader", Puducherry Chief Minister V Vaithilingam said in his condolence.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achutanandan, state Cultural Affairs Minister M.A.Baby, Port Minister V. Surendran Pillai, former Member of Parliament V.S. Sivakumar, Malankara Metrapolita Major Archbishop Mor Basalious Climmis and director Madhupal went to the hospital to pay homage to the veteran leader and to convey their condolence to the bereaved family members.

Large stream of people and admirers thronged at the hospital premise and also accompanied the vehicle which carried the body of the veteran to his house at Nanthancode here where it would be kept till tomorrow morning.

Later, the body would be kept at the KPCC office and the government secretariat Darbar Hall to facilitate the public to pay homage.

The body would be taken to his native place Thrissur as a procession and the cremation would take place on December 25.

KPCC has called for a week mourning as a respect to the departed leader. State government has declared public holiday tomorrow.
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