As Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami entered the Rajaji Hall to pay his last respects to the Dravidian veteran Kalaignar M Karunanidhi on Wednesday morning, it was his actions of Tuesday that spoke the loudest in the hearts and lips of the people gathered there. The Chief Minister was greeted by supporters who chanted, “Marina vendum!” (We want Marina!) as he arrived at Rajaji Hall – a demand that rang loud and clear in the air even as the Madras HC is hearing a petition challenging the TN government’s denial of burial space to the DMK president near the Anna Samadhi.
Karunanidhi’s mortal remains are kept at the Rajaji Hall, shrouded in the tricolour, and thousands have been flocking to the hall to pay their last respects to the late leader since Wednesday morning. The late leader’s mortal remains reached the Rajaji Hall at 5.45 am.
On Tuesday, the DMK moved the Madras High Court for a late night hearing, demanding that the political stalwart be laid to rest in Marina, next to his mentor CN Annadurai. After an emergency hearing, the court adjourned at 1 am, and reconvened at 8 am on Wednesday.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran was among the first to arrive to pay homage. Other than EPS and TTV Dhinakaran, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, minister KA Sengottaiyan and deputy speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai also paid their tributes.
Even as a steady stream of politicians and celebrities poured into the venue, the shouts of “Marina vendum!” were the most audible. This continued even as Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit arrived at the venue to pay his respects. Banwarilal could be seen having a conversation with Stalin and Kanimozhi soon after.
Family members were standing around the body of the late leader, including Stalin, Alagiri, Kanimozhi, and Dayanidhi Maran.
“Our leader has a right. The government can't simply hide behind the law. EPS-OPS government knows these petitions will be challenged. The government lawyer has filed such a vague order that denies legal right to our leader,” said DMK Spokesperson and lawyer A Saravanan to News18.