Parliament adjourns after paying tributes to Karunanidhi

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NEW DELHI, Aug 8 (PTI): In a break from tradition, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day on Wednesday as a mark of respect to DMK chief M Karunanidhi who died on Tuesday evening.

The 94-year-old DMK patriarch served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times but was never a member of Parliament.

Glowing tributes were paid to the departed leader in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, before the Houses were adjourned for the day.

It is rare that the House is adjourned in case a departed leader is not a sitting or former member. It is a Parliament convention to adjourn for the day in the event of death of a sitting member, Parliament officials said.

Before the proceedings commenced on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu consulted senior leaders of various political parties for their views on adjourning the proceedings of the House for the day.

He sought to know their views as it is rarely that the House proceedings are adjourned in case the departed leader is not a sitting or former member of the House, the officials said.

All those who participated in the meeting said Karunanidhi was one of the tallest leaders of the country and favoured adjournment of the proceedings.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also said the government was also in favour of adjournment, the officials said.

The views were also conveyed to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, they said.

As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, Mahajan informed the members about the demise of Karunanidhi.

Describing him as a “visionary” and a “leader of the masses”, she said he had spread his political philosophy through screen writing and produced some of the best hits in Tamil cinema.

During his “illustrious political career”, Karunanidhi “ably showcased his admirable leadership qualities and worked relentlessly for the cause of the people, particularly the marginalised and the downtrodden sections of society,” Mahajan said.

After observing a moment of silence in his memory, the Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Chairman read out an obituary reference, describing Karunanidhi as a multi-faceted personality and a gritty figure who overcame difficulties.

Beginning his career as a screen play writer, Karunanidhi used Tamil cinema to propagate Dravidian ideology and contributed to Tamil culture, Naidu said.

Karunanidhi entered politics at a very young age and was a member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly for a record 13 times, being elected from seven different constituencies, he said.

In 1969, he became the third Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and went on to serve the state as the head of its government for five terms.

He played a key role in scripting the development of Tamil Nadu, Naidu said, adding that in his death, the country has lost an eminent litterateur, an able administrator, a dedicated social worker and an outstanding statesman.

The members stood in silence as a mark of respect to the departed soul, following which Naidu adjourned the Rajya Sabha proceedings for the day.

Earlier at the meeting, the parliamentary affairs minister sought the cooperation of all parties in both Houses in passing important pending bills like the one relating to Prevention of Atrocities against SCs and STs in the Rajya Sabha, if required, by dispensing with the Zero Hour and private members’ business, the officials said.

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