Thousands Bid Farewell to 'Leader'

Thiruvananthapuram
Thousands Bid Farewell to 'Leader'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and thousands of people today paid their last respects to veteran Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran here, before his final journey to political home Thrissur, where his mortal remains would be cremated tomorrow.

Gandhi and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram flew in from Delhi to pay their homage to Karunakaran as the body lay in state at the KPCC headquarters Indira Bhavan here.

Gandhi laid a wreath, stood for a minute with folded hands before the body and conveyed condolences to Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal, both of them politicians.

Mahatma Gandhi's favourite bhajans were played in the background as the body of the 93-year leader, who died yesterday, draped in Congress flag was kept in a glass casket for the people to pay their homage to the state's stalwart whose political career spanned over seven decades.

Later, the mortal remains were kept at the historic Durbar hall at the government secretariat where Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, his colleagues, leaders of various political parties, including CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, paid floral tributes to the departed leader.

Religious leaders, including senior Bishops, writers and artistes, also turned up to pay their last respects to the leader, who straddled the state's political scene as a colossus for nearly five decades.

Thousands drawn from different walks of life queued up to have a last glimpse of the `leader' as he was called by friends and foes alike.

Right from early hours, mourners kept a steady stream to 'Kalyani', the residence of Karunakaran, who ruled the state as chief minster four times leaving a legacy of his own.

In the afternoon, the flower-decked cortege set out to Thrissur in central Kerala with people thronging the waysides to express their love and affection to the veteran leader.

Karunakaran's son and former KPCC president K Muraleedharan, daughter Padmaja Venugopal, close relatives and Congress leaders are accompanying the funeral procession.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to attend the funeral at the compound of his house `Murali Mandiram' at Poonkunnam in Thrissur where the mortal remains of his wife Kalyanikkutty Amma were cremated 15 years ago.

Arrangements have been made in major towns on the way for the people to pay homage.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Union Ministers Veerappa Moily, Vayalar Ravi, G K Vasan and Mullappally Ramachandran were among the dignitaries who paid their homage to Karunakaran.
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