Mumbai: Late DMK chief M Karunanidhi had helped fund a school and library in Mumbai’s Dharavi ares some 35 years ago. DMK Mumbai unit incharge R Palaniswamy said the unit invited Karunanidhi. “Not only did he accept our invitation, but also evinced keen interest in our activities and needs,” he said. “We told him about non-availability of a community school in the Tamil-dominated Dharavi area. We also told him that lack of funds was a major factor in construction of the school,” he said.
“He asked senior party members to do the needful and ensure that the school is opened. Due to his proactive support, our branch got enough funds which not only helped us build the school, but also purchase office space and books for the school library,” Palaniswamy said. “During the Mumbai visit, Karunanidhi met thousands of Tamil people in public meetings at Dadar-Parsi Gymkhana and Adarsh Nagar Maidan in Worli. Anyone who met him once became his fan and follower,” he said.
The DMK doyen did not visit Mumbai after 1983, he said. Meanwhile, rich tributes were paid to Karunanidhi by his supporters here on Wednesday. They gathered in Sion-Koliwada and offered floral tributes to their leader. Some supporters flew to Chennai to attend his last rites, Palaniswamy said. BJP MLA from Sion-Koliwada Assembly constituency in Mumbai Capt R Tamil Selvan, who organised the condolence meeting, said Karunanidhi was among the “rare leaders who practiced what he preached”. “He was a social reformer and opposed superstition. He was the flag-bearer of Tamil nationalism who opposed Hindi,” Selvan said. Karunanidhi, 94, died at a private hospital in Chennai on Tuesday following prolonged illness.
Governor mourns Karuna’s demise
The Governor of Maharashtra CH. Vidyasagar Rao, who also served as Governor of Tamil Nadu for more than a year, has expressed grief over the demise of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and President of DMK Dr. M. Karunanidhi in Chennai on Tuesday. In a condolence message addressed to M K Stalin, Working President of DMK, Governor Vidyasagar Rao said, “Sri Karunanidhi was one of the most popular and charismatic leaders produced by Tamil Nadu who dominated the political discourse of the nation for many decades. A visionary leader, ‘Kalaignar’ as he was affectionately called, was deeply committed to the welfare of the poorest person, farmers and workers. As five times Chief Minister, Karunanidhi introduced several innovative schemes for the welfare of the weaker sections of society. Dr. Karunanidhi was also a multi-talented personality, having been a writer, screenplay writer, theater artist and an art lover. In his demise, the people of Tamil Nadu have lost a Messiah of the Poor. I convey my deepest condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu and to the members of the bereaved family on the demise of Dr Karunanidhi.”