Chennai: Leaders of various political parties chose the memorial meeting for M Karunanidhi – “Sun that rose in the South” – organised here on Thursday, to call for a united stand against the ruling BJP government in the Centre.
Their speeches came right after Union Shipping Minister and BJP member Nitin Gadkari said the ideologies of the Dravidian movement and the BJP had many similarities. Gadkari who spoke early in the meeting, left the venue midway.
He said, “I would like to convey that the ideologies of Dravidian movement and BJP have many similarities including fostering and learning from our glorious heritage. The relentless efforts of Karunanidhi to immortalise the greatness of Thirukural and Thiruvalluvar, who was the first finest flower to blossom in the beautiful garden of Mother India, is as much the celebration of the leaders BJP as it is for Tamilnadu and DMK.”
He recalled that DMK and Jan Sangh were the first two political parties to challenge the domination of Congress in the country and were also the first two parties to oppose the imposition of Emergency and fight for establishment of democracy.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury who spoke later said that Karunanidhi inherited the legacy of Periyar, Anna Durai.
“This legacy was of individual respect, rationality, social justice equality irrespective of cast creed or sex and legacy of prosperity for all. This was an inclusive legacy that can be captured in the concept of India while still retaining our specific identity. But today, we we are seeing exclusion instead of inclusion. I wish Nitin Gadkari was here. I wanted to say all this in front of him,” he said.
VOICES RISE AGAINST BJP
After Gadkari’s speech many leaders took a frontal assault on BJP, but the most vociferous was Rajya Sabha MP and Trinamool Congress leader, Derek O Brien, representing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
He said, “All parties that believe in federalism should join hands. All the State parties must come together to capture power in Delhi.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah expressed concern over the prevailing political situation and asked opposition parties to stay united or the nation would go down. Addressing the DMK president, he said, “Stalin! lead us to that nation that Gandhi could not take us to, your father could not take us.”
A GREAT SOCIAL REFORMER
Congress representative at the event Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Karunanidhi was four persons rolled into one as a writer, artist, politician and a great social reformer.
Azad said, “He was the first person to conceive the scheme for 33 per cent reservation in local bodies and 30 per cent reservation for women in government service. That’s why we call him a great social reformer or great social revolutionary of 20th and 21st century.”
JDS leader and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, social activist Swami Agnivesh, IUML leader K M Khader Mohideen, Telugu Desam Party leader Y S Chowdary were among others who spoke lauding the late