Dravidian icon M Karunanidhi passes away at the age of 94

Indian MP Kannimozhi of the DMK party looks at the body of her father and DMK president Muthuvel Karunanidhi as others gather to pay respects

Kerala governor P Sathasivam and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday expressed grief over the death of DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi. "His blood pressure has been stabilised with medical management and he continues to be monitored and treated by the panel of experts", said the hospital in a televised report after his supporters were getting anxious and gathering in front of the hospital on July 30.

Later, on July 31 the hospital indicated that Karunanidhi may have to have an extended stay at the hospital due to age-related overall decline in his general health, altered liver function and haematological parameters.

Karunanidhi, a charismatic self-styled champion of the poor, had been in intensive care since July 28 in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

In the meantime, Karunanidhi's wife and Alagiri's mother Dayalu Ammal, accompanied by her son and grandsons, was driven to the hospital from their Gopalapuram residence. "We had met the chief minister and submitted a request for a Samadhi near the Anna memorial", Duraimurugan said according to News18.

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When Mr Annadurai died in 1969, Mr Karunanidhi, then in his 40s, took over leadership of the DMK.

DMK working president M.K. Stalin, recalling the long public life of Karunanidhi, had written to Chief Minister K Palaniswami seeking space inside the mausoleum complex of the departed leader's mentor C.N. Annadurai at the Marina.

Co-convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and RSS ideologue in Tamil Nadu, Swaminathan Gurumurthy, told News18 that DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi should not be buried at Marina Beach. State honours will be accorded to Karunanidhi and the Tricolour will be draped over him, she said, adding a gun salute will also be given to the late leader.

Karunanidhi, a school dropout, became involved in politics at a young age, spearheading the DMK which was allied for many years to the Gandhi dynasty's Congress party. The TMC came to power in the state. Kalaignar means artist in Tamil, and the reference is a nod to his widely recognised contributions to film and literature. He led DMK to victory in 1996, but AIADMK under Jayalalithaa trumped his party once again in 2001.

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