THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to DMK stalwart M. Karunanidhi, calling him a "guiding force in protecting the diversity of our country".
"I always had a very warm and cordial relation with him and was fortunate to visit him when he was keeping unwell. He was one person who was the the guiding force in protecting the diversity of our country," Vijayan said in a statement.
He added that the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had departed at a time when the country was at crossroads and that was painful.
"It's really sad that he left when the secular forces was trying to come together. He was an unifying force in that and hence his absence is going to be a huge gap, which can never be replaced," the CPI-M leader said.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala described Karunanidhi as the strongest leader after DMK founder C.N. Annadurai that the country had seen in Dravidian politics.
Both Vijayan and Chennithala are expected to attend Karunanidhi's last rites.
As a matter of caution, the state-owned Kerala Transport Corp has decided to stop interstate bus services to Tamil Nadu for a day.