Thousands mourn as revered veteran Tamil Nadu leader Karunanidhi dies

Thousands mourn as revered veteran Tamil Nadu leader Karunanidhi dies

Thousands mourn as revered veteran Tamil Nadu leader Karunanidhi dies

Thousands of his supporters gathered outside the hospital in Chennai to mourn his demise, as scores of policemen kept watch.

"There has been decline in the medical condition of Kalaignar Dr M Karunanidhi, DMK President and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu".

Karunanidhi, who was demanding a separate state flag for Tamil Nadu since 1970, ensured that chief ministers of states' who weren't allowed to hoist the national flag during Independence Day celebrations until 1974, were given the right to do so. It's been a long journey for the his clan that made it to the top of Tamil Nadu politics.

An atheist and self-declared rationalist, Mr Karunanidhi rose to political prominence in the 1940s as part of the Dravidian movement - which challenged the supremacy of upper caste Brahmins - and through his participation in anti-Hindi language agitations.

Karunanidhi, one of the most senior politicians in India, was Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister five times but has been ailing for some time. "Hand over anti-socials to police, they may attempt to tarnish DMK". "He's been a witness to everything that's happened in the state in the past six or seven decades", newspaper columnist Bhaskaran Krishnamurthy earlier told the BBC.

Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1957 from the Kulithalai assembly of Thiruchirapalli district. As the popularity of the DMK continued to fall, two years later, in 1991, the DMK was easily defeated and Jayalalitha became the Chief Minister. However, it lasted only for two years as he was dismissed by the then Prime Minister Chandrasekar on charges of helping the LTTE in the state. Karunanidhi is considered as the leader who has always been concerned about his party and its people. Jayalalithaa who lost her own seat was slapped with several corruption cases including DA case which haunted her till her death.

Karunanidhi's government was dismissed twice.

The transition from Annadurai to Karunanidhi is a rallying point not just for the DMK, but also for the state's politics.

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