President Ram Nath Kovind has on Monday unveiled the portrait of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The President has arrived in Chennai on Monday afternoon to attend the ceremony that was organized to mark the Centenary Celebrations of the Tamil Nadu Legislature.
The unveiling has drawn major national attention and it has come nearly four months after the DMK government was formed by Karunanidhi's son MK Stalin. While the DMK cadres and leaders had described it as a historical day and moment, the state opposition party ADMK has boycotted the ceremony by accusing the DMK government of deliberately changing the history and celebrating the event. The portrait of Karunanidhi, who had served in the assembly 13 times, was unveiled by President three years after the death of the former.
President Kovind was received by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, and higher officials at the Chennai airport and he was later escorted to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, which was sparkingly decorated in light of the two historical occasions. The President has unveiled Karunanidhi's portrait in the presence of Purohit, MK Stalin, Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker Appavu, and the representatives from the various parties.
However, the ADMK has entirely boycotted the event and castigated the DMK government of harming history. The ADMK has said that today marks the centenary anniversary of not the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, but the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council, which currently doesn't exist in the state. Senior ADMK leader D Jayakumar has accused the DMK regime of changing the history of the assembly.
The event of unveiling Karunanidhi's portrait has begun with the welcoming address that was delivered by Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker Appavu. Following the welcoming address, President Kovind has unveiled Karunanidhi's portrait, in which the DMK patriarch was seen standing with one of his hands placed on an elephant statue and while a pile of books and a picture of Thiruvallur decorate the backdrop. According to reports, after incessant consideration, Chief Minister MK Stalin has confirmed this specific photograph of a towering leader, who will stand tall at the assembly forever.
Beneath his portrait is a Tamil maxim - 'Time is like gold and duty is like the eye'. The reports say that this maxim too was finalized by MK Stalin to appropriately describe Karunanidhi's life from being a social reformer to an inevitable Indian politician and statesman to the future generations. After unveiling his portrait, President Kovind addressed the forum during which he said that Karunanidhi has sowed social reformations through his revolutionary thoughts. The President said, "I am very happy to unveil the portrait of Karunanidhi who is an important leader in Indian history. It is truly an important day."
Kovind further said that Karunanidhi has crucially contributed to Tamil literature and in Tamil Nadu politics. The President has begun his address in Tamil and following his speech, Governor Purohit has addressed the ceremony during which he spoke about the pride and honor of the Tamil Nadu assembly and asserted that Tamil Nadu is exceptional in the developed states of India. Purohit said, "Karunanidhi has won the hearts of poor people. He has established Samathuvapuram to destroy untouchability and he has gained sound knowledge in various subjects.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said, "Today is a day that must be carved in history. This assembly has created legislations that were celebrated by the country and this assembly has brought the two-language system to Tamil Nadu. After speaking about Karunanidhi's achievements, MK Stalin has thanked the President to accept his invite and unveil the portrait of M Karunanidhi in the Tamil Nadu assembly. It has been reported that the Tamil Nadu government has also invited actor Rajinikanth for the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, President Kovind will be staying at Raj Bhavan in Chennai on Monday, and on Tuesday, he will be leaving for Coimbatore and will be visiting Raj Bhavan in Ooty. While the ceremony was spelt to be historic, ADMK has stirred a political debate by skipping the event. Karunanidhi was first elected to the state assembly in 1957 from Kulithalai and he was elected to the assembly a total of 13 times till 2016 and he has never faced a defeat. Karunanidhi had served as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister five times and has served as the DMK President for five decades. He died on August 7, 2018, at the age of 94 and his portrait has become the 16th portrait to decorate the Tamil Nadu Assembly.