DMK chief MK Stalin paid tribute to party patriarch and his father M Karunanidhi on his 95th birth anniversary this morning in Chennai. M Karunanidhi, five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who dominated the state's politics for six decades, died last year on August 7. He and been in and out of hospital for more than a year before his death.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also tweeted his tributes. "Remembering Kalaignar Karunanidhi on his birth anniversary. A true leader of the glorious Tamil people, whose memory will never fade away," he wrote.
Remembering Kalaignar Karunanidhi on his birth anniversary. A true leader of the glorious Tamil people, whose memory will never fade away.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 3, 2019
The DMK patriarch had a colossal mass following, like arch rivals MG Ramachandran and Jayaram Jayalalitha.
Born in Thirukkuvalai on June 3, 1924, a small village in Thanjavur District (now Nagapattinam), M Karunanidhi was drawn to the Dravidian movement led by reformist leader Periyar EVR as a teen.
Like MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, Mr Karunanidhi quit a flourishing career in movies to devote himself to politics and the Dravidian movement led by Periyar EVR, which he joined soon after it started in 1949.
A young Karunanidhi was noticed for first time when he led the famous "Kallakudi agitation" in 1953, lying over railway tracks.
Tributes also poured on social media as people remembered Karunanidhi's contributions in developing the state.
Social media users tweeted using hashtag #HBDKalaignar96. "Kalaignar", which means artiste in Tamil, was known for his film scripts - a skill that also probably helped him in his political career.
Many users fondly remembered him as "Father of Modern Tamil Nadu" in their posts.
#HBDKalaignar96— contractor சிங்கார் சிங் (@L1K4jQMa7Vy0pLW) June 3, 2019
Kalaignar established SIPCOT Industrial Parks all over TN, making TN the Industrial powerhouse and Chennai as Detriot of Asia.
Today , SIPCOT Industrial Parks employ millions across TN pic.twitter.com/U74j8BgtiT#HBDKalaignar96
A 13-time lawmaker, M Karunanidhi never personally lost an election since 1957. He was 48 when he first became Tamil Nadu's chief minister.
After M Karunanidhi's death, his son MK Stalin faced his first major electoral test this time in the national elections. The DMK-led front which has claimed victory in 37 of 38 parliamentary seats in the state. In the state bye-elections, the party set a new record winning 13 of 22 seats.