India Politics
Karunanidhi felicitated by allies, friends
May 11, 2007 - 10:55:32 PM

Chennai, May 11 - Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader M. Karunanidhi was felicitated by a host of national leaders and party cadres at a mammoth function here Friday night to celebrate his 50 years as a state legislator, putting to rest all speculation about his support base and health.

Friends and allies called 84-year-old Karunanidhi a 'patriot' and sought his 'cooperation' for long years to come, wishing him a long life and greater contribution to public life.

The DMK leader's sons M.K. Azhagiri and M.K. Stalin as well as other members of the family were present on the occasion.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flew down to Chennai to felicitate ally Karunanidhi on the occasion.

Gandhi in her felicitation address said: 'Most of the credit of our success in forming a government has to be attributed to Mr Karunanidhi and the MPs from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry were responsible for putting our alliance together'.

In his brief reply to the Congress' leaders felicitation, Karunanidhi once again proved himself a master politician, avoiding all mention of local and state issues as well as party politics.

'The three important controversies, the Cauvery water sharing dispute, the Mullaiperiyar and the Pallar river issues have been there for the last 50 years. I now leave the Cauvery issue to you to resolve and we will support your efforts,' the veteran DMK leader said.

He also urged the United Progressive Alliance - government to ensure 33 percent reservation for women, 27 percent for the other backward classes -, reservation for minorities and inter-link rivers.

The prime minister, while praising Karunanidhi, said: 'With your - cooperation, the UPA government would try to find 'practical, pragmatic and just solutions' to these problems.'

'I greet you Sir for your commitment to the development of Tamil Nadu and sought Karunanidhi's cooperation and guidance for not only Tamil Nadu but India. India needs you to guide it, guide us,' Manmohan Singh said.

Union ministers like Lalu Yadav, P. Chidambaram, T.R. Baalu and Left leader like Prakash Karat were on the podium with the DMK leader.

Allies with whom the DMK has been having strained relationships, thanks to opinion polls run by the Dinakaran newspaper, like S. Ramadoss and Anbumani Ramadoss were also present.

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