Top Opposition leaders to attend event marking Karunanidhi's 60 years as a legislator

Chennai: In what is being billed as Opposition show of strength, top leaders including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are expected to share dais at an event to mark 60 years of DMK chief M Karunanidhi as a legislator on Friday.

Besides, the diamond jubilee celebrations of Karunanidhi's entry into the Tamil Nadu Assembly will also see the participation of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. Kumar and Yadav are two rarely seen faces in the state.

File image of Karunanidhi. PTI

File image of Karunanidhi. PTI

Apart from Lok Sabha MP Derek O'Brien, who will represent TMC, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI national secretary D Raja, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar are also scheduled to attend the event.

Ironically, Karunanidhi's participation is still uncertain as doctors have not given him the nod to attend the function, scheduled to coincide with his 94th birthday.

The nonagenarian leader is recuperating following a tracheostomy procedure in December last to improve breathing. The event comes amidst parleys by non-NDA parties involving TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to field a common candidate for the Presidential polls due in July. However, DMK working president and Karunanidhi's son MK Stalin has denied his father's birthday bash will serve as a platform for the non-NDA parties to discuss the presidential polls.

He had earlier said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had already held discussions with him on the possibility of putting up a joint Opposition candidate.

Incumbent Pranab Mukherjee's term ends in July this year.

A five-time chief minister, Karunanidhi made his debut as a MLA from Kulithalai in then undivided Tiruchirappally in 1957 and has not lost a single election in his career. Even during times his party faced routs at the hand of arch rival AIADMK, including in 1991 and 2011 where the late J Jayalalithaa led her party to stupendous wins, Karunanidhi had emerged victorious. He presently represents his native Thiruvarur constituency in the 234 member Tamil Nadu Assembly.

Meanwhile, Kerala governor Justice P Sathasivan, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and BJP state president Tamilisai Soundarajan greeted Karunanidhi on his long stint as a legislator.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wished the DMK leader on his birthday.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 19:22 PM

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