Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday unveiled a bronze statue of late DMK President and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and hailed the Dravidian stalwart as one of India's most dynamic CMs who has left a legacy of development and social welfare. Karunanidhi rose to iconic stature by his efforts and never failed to promote the Tamil language and culture, Naidu said, even as he urged people to learn their mother tongue and that they should not develop an aversion to other languages.
"We must not oppose any language but support our mother tongue. There should be no imposition and no opposition to any language. Learn as many languages as possible including foreign languages," he urged. Speaking after unveiling the 16-ft high bronze statue of Karunanidhi, Naidu said in a democracy it is quite essential to agree to disagree. In public life, politicians should respect each other. "People who belong to different parties have different views. We are not enemies. We are only political rivals. This is my advice to young politicians," he said. He found it interesting to argue with Kalaignar, as Karunanidhi was respectfully addressed and sometimes differed from his views.
Karunanidhi was not only firmly rooted to his ideology but also worked for the welfare of the people with dedication, dynamism and discipline. "He was one of the most dynamic chief ministers of India," the Vice President said. He recalled the late leader had opposed the imposition of Emergency by then Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, "in clear and unambiguous terms. With India becoming stronger under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now is the right time for all to work together for the welfare of the downtrodden, he said. "When states develop, the country will progress. This should always be kept in mind. We are team India. We should work together, forgetting the political differences," Naidu added.
Stating that he was "really happy" to unveil Karunanidhi's statue ahead of his birth anniversary on June 3, Naidu said he had the least hesitation in accepting the invitation to attend the event. "I accepted the invite immediately. Karunanidhi is an able administrator who gave stable governance and worked for the welfare of the downtrodden, oppressed and the depressed sections," he said. Naidu said he had been observing the speeches of the late Karunanidhi and those of other leaders from Tamil Nadu since his student days in his native Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and found the DMK leader to be the best speaker in the country. "He had clarity in vision. The way he articulated was very good and it impressed me, although I had my own political leanings," Naidu said.
Recalling the Dravidian stalwart's arrest in 2001, by the then AIADMK government in the state, Naidu said he stood by the leader in the hour of crisis.
Karunanidhi was an astute politician who won every election he contested and provided leadership to his party for half a century. As CM, he left a lasting legacy of development and social welfare. The gifted orator figured in the list of iconic leaders who had put people at the centre of their work, the Vice President said. "Thanks to leaders like him, the country has strengthened its federal character and as Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls it, the country has emerged as a strong Team India," Naidu said at the event at Kalaivanar Arangam here where several dignitaries including film superstar Rajinikanth also participated.
Karunanidhi's multi-dimensional work has had a lasting impact on the social-political landscape of Tamil Nadu, he said. Hailing Karunanidhi as the "father of modern Tamil Nadu" chief minister M K Stalin said his father Kalaignar was a multi-faceted personality who sacrificed his life for the oppressed sections. "He had the long-term vision and the complex where his statue has been erected, was built by him to house the Tamil Nadu Assembly complex but now it is serving as a hospital," Stalin said. He thanked Naidu and former Prime Minister, the late A B Vajpayee for their support to his father during his arrest in 2001.
Earlier, the Vice President unveiled the statue of the Dravidian stalwart, a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, in the presence of Stalin, on the campus of the multi super specialty government hospital at Omandurar Estate here. The statue is placed a few hundred meters away from the place where the original one was vandalised 35 years ago in the wake of AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran's death. The 16-feet high bronze statue, which includes the depiction of Karunanidhi's trademark dark glasses which he wore for decades, is mounted on a 14-foot high pedestal. After the formal unveiling, the Vice President, accompanied by the chief minister and other leaders paid floral tributes to a portrait of Karunanidhi kept near the statue.
Periyar (rationalist leader E V Ramasamy) wanted to install a statue of Karunanidhi. But after Periyar's death his wife Maniammai took up the initiative along with the Dravidar Kazhagam to install his statue on Anna Salai, Stalin said. "The statue was vandalised by certain evil forces out of political malice following the death of MGR (as Ramachandran is fondly addressed)," Stalin said in his epistle to his DMK workers on Friday.