New Delhi, Aug 7: President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid their tributes to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Chief M Karunanidhi, who passed away earlier on Tuesday. Karunanidhi, who was a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, breathed his last after an 11-day battle with his deteriorating health in Chennai's Kauvery Hospital. Soon after, President Kovind tweeted, "Extremely sad to learn of the passing of Thiru M. Karunanidhi. A doyen of our public life, as a contributor to the development of Tamil Nadu and of India he has few peers. Our country is poorer today. My condolences to his family and millions of well-wishers.
Prime Minister Modi, on the other hand, paid a touching tribute to the veteran leader and posted a series of pictures with the veteran leader. "I have had the opportunity of interacting with Karunanidhi Ji on several occasions. His understanding of policy and emphasis on social welfare stood out. Firmly committed to democratic ideals, his strong opposition to the Emergency will always be remembered." The Prime Minister tweeted. The Prime Minister will travel to Chennai on Wednesday to pay his last respects. Congress President Rahul Gandhi also took on Twitter to express his condolences and will fly to Chennai on Wednesday, along with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
"Loved by the Tamilian people, Kalaignar strode the stage of Tamil politics, like a colossus, for over 6 decades. In his passing, India has lost a great son. My condolences to his family as also to the millions of Indians who grieve for their beloved leader tonight," Gandhi tweeted.
Hailing M Karunanidhi's contribution in the fields of cinema and literature apart from politics, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said, "It is saddening to know about the demise of M Karunanidhi. The DMK chief was someone who had contributed to the fields of politics, cinema, and literature."
Terming him as Tamil Nadu's 'father figure', West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Today India lost one of its greatest sons. And Tamil Nadu lost its father figure. Farewell @Kalaignar89. My deepest condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu, @arivalayam, @mkstalin, @KanimozhiDMK, and family. India mourns your loss." Meanwhile, actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth termed the day as a "Black Day".
"Today is a black day in my life, one which I can never forget as I lost my #Kalaignar. I pray for his soul."
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh lamented the loss of the veteran leader, "Saddened by the news of the death of Shri Karunanidhi. In his death, not just Tamil Nadu and his DMK party but the nation have lost a veteran politician. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also paid his condolences. "A legend in his lifetime, counted amongst the giants of the political landscape of India #Kalaignar #Karunanidhi Ji has left a void not just in his home state of Tamil Nadu but in the entire country that will never be filled. My condolences to his family & Tamils the world over," Abdullah tweeted.
Reminding how Karunanidhi gave a fillip to regional parties, Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said, "He had shown the path to regional parties, it's a tragic moment for his workers and those who loved him. He was a mature leader and a statesman. Pray to almighty that his soul rests in peace," he told ANI.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao also paid their tributes to M. Karunanidhi.
Speaking to reporters, Lok Sabha speaker Sumit Mahajan termed the passing away of Karunanidhi as an 'irreparable loss'. "Pained to learn about the sad demise of Dr. M. Karunanidhi. His passing away is an irreparable loss to the country and to the state of Tamil Nadu and marks the end of an era. I convey my heartfelt condolences to members of his bereaved family and his supporters across the country."
U.S. Ambassador to India Ken Juster also extended his condolences for the DMK patriarch. "On behalf of the United States Mission in India, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of former Chief Minister Muthuvel #Karunanidhi and the people of Tamil Nadu. He will be remembered for his years of public service to his state and the country at large," Juster tweeted. As M. Karunanidhi's death marks the end of an era in Dravidian politics, the state government has announced a state-wide holiday on Wednesday.