Chennai: President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday evening delivered his address in Tamil in the historic event marking the centenary of the Tamilnadu Legislature and paid rich tributes to former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Kovind unveiled a life-sized portrait of the former Chief Minister in the Assembly chamber to mark the centenary fete.
“I am glad to be among you here today on this historic occasion. Today, I have just unveiled the portrait of ‘Kalaignar’ Thiru M Karunanidhi,” he said.
“It is indeed a momentous day! We are commemorating the centenary of the Madras Legislative Council, as it was known then,” he said.
The Madras Legislative Council has enacted many forward-looking legislations and also underwent many changes in its early decades.
“That spirit of democracy remains the guiding light of the State Legislature,” he said, adding, the Madras Legislature became the fountainhead of many progressive legislations which were subsequently replicated across the country to empower the weaker sections of society and strengthen democracy.
Kovind said the Madras Legislature had sown seeds of a fully representative democracy form of governance which were realised after Independence.
Kovind unveiled the life-size portrait of Karunanidhi the presence of Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Karunanidhi’s son and Chief Minister M K Stalin, Assembly Speaker M Appavu, Deputy
Speaker K Pichandi, former Speakers, MPs, MLAs, Floor leaders of various parties, ruling DMK’s alliance party leaders and special invitees, including Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee.
Kovind heaped praises on Karunanidhi and said he worked for the betterment of the State.
This is the first time in four decades that a portrait of an eminent leader of the State was unveiled by the President.
In August 1977, then President N Sanjeeva Reddy had unveiled the portrait of former Chief Minister K Kamaraj.
The portrait of Karunanidhi, who had served as Chief Minister five times and also as DMK president for five decades, is the 16th portrait to be unveiled in the historic Assembly hall.
Karunanidhi was elected to the Assembly a record 13 terms and has never lost an election in his political career.
The main Opposition AIADMK stayed away from the function, while leaders of its alliance partners were present.
Seating arrangements were made in such a way that adequate social distancing norms were followed in view of the Covid pandemic.
The historic Fort St George, the 17th-century vestige of the colonial era and Tamilnadu’s seat of power, was tastefully decorated and illuminated to mark the occasion. Stalin presented a replica of the Fort St George as a memento to the President.