DMK chief M Karunanidhi will be celebrating his 94th birthday today.
Chennai: As DMK chief M Karunanidhi turns 94 today, his birthday party will serve as a gathering for more than one cause. While his party will mark the occasion as one to celebrate his sixty years of being a legislator without losing a single election, a host opposition parties will huddle around in what is being seen as a show of unity ahead of the Presidential election. Among the expected attendees are Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Sitaram Yechury of the Left, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. The BJP has not been invited.
Here are the 10 things you need to know about it:
Karunanidhi, recovering from illness, is not expected to be part of the birthday bash to be held in the evening.
The event comes amidst parleys by parties not part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to field a common candidate for the Presidential polls due in July.
However, both Stalin and his sister Kanimozhi have denied the birthday party will serve as a platform for the opposition parties to discuss the Presidential polls.
"It is a very special day for all of us. Karunanidhi's emphasis on social justice is his greatest contribution as legislator. There is nothing politically significant about opposition leaders meeting," Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi told NDTV.
Among those who will give the event a miss are West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Yadav.
Mr Yadav's cancellation is being read in political circles as his unwillingness to be seen with Mr Kumar, who had skipped a luncheon meeting hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on May 26 in which he himself was present.
A five-time Chief Minister, Karunanidhi made his debut as a Member of Legislative Assembly (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 his rival 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.