BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and other leaders from the state on Tuesday paid homage to DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, who earlier passed away in Chennai.
"Karunanidhi strived for the development of Tamil Nadu all through his life and built a strong regional party DMK. I met him several times. He made me understand the importance of regional parties," Kumaraswamy said in a statement here.
The Chief Minister recalled that many of Karunanidhi's popular schemes for the poor and downtrodden in Tamil Nadu were replicated in other states.
The DMK was a coalition partner in the United Democratic Front (UDF) government headed by H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister in 1996-97 and Karunanidhi played a key role in the formation of the non-Congress government at the Centre," said the statement.
On his long association with the southern stalwart, Kumaraswamy said though Karunanidhi came to politics from film industry, his dedication and service to the people of Tamil Nadu was commendable.
"In his death, we have lost a unique personality in Indian politics and Tamil Nadu a visionary leader," mourned Kumaraswamy.
Gowda, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo, who visited an ailing Karunanidhi in the hospital on August 3, expressed grief and paid condolences to the bereaved family.
"Karunanidhi was one of the tallest political leaders in the country. Though he hailed from a village and strived hard to come up in life, he led the DMK for over 50 years and ruled Tamil Nadu as Chief Minister five times," Gowda told reporters here.
Recalling his long association with the DMK patriarch, Gowda said DMK's support to his coalition government in 1996-97 and subsequently to the NDA government (1999-2004) and UPA government (2004-2014) at the Centre provided stability to the country.
"The DMK's support to the NDA and UPA governments for 15 years from 1999 to 2014 not only ensured stability at the Centre, but also benefitted Tamil Nadu immensely as evident from the all-round development of the neighbouring state," Gowda added.
Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said that the 'Kalaignar' of Tamil Nadu got involved in social service at a young age and was a multi-faceted personality.
"I cannot forget his touching gesture of accepting my request to install the statue of Kannada poet Sarvajna in Chennai during my tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister (2008-11)," Yeddyurappa said in a statement here.
In response, Karunanidhi also accepted Yeddyurappa's invitation and unveiled saint poet Tiruvalluvar's statue in Bengaluru in August 2009, which strengthened the bond between the people of the neighbouring state.
"Karunanidhi's yeomen service to the people of Tamil Nadu will always be remembered. The death of then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in December 2016 and now Karunanidhi on Tuesday has caused a huge political void in south India. I share the grief of the Tamils who have lost an icon. May his soul rest in peace," the BJP leader added.
State Congress unit President Dinesh Gundu Roa condoled the death and tweeted: A towering personality in Tamil Nadu politics who also played a significant role at the national level. A true inheritor of the Dravidian movement. TN politics will never be the same again. #RIP."