The Capital city of Thiruvananthapuram on Friday paid rich tributes to departed Congress leader K. Karunakaran, for whom, as a politician and an administrator, the city was a second home. Large number of people cutting across party lines and from various walks of life lined up before the Indira Bhavan and the Durbar hall in the State secretariat to pay homage to Karunakaran before his mortal remains were taken to Thrissur for funeral on Saturday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moil and Shipping Minister G. K. Vasan were among the prominent personalities who arrived at the party headquarters to pay their last respects to the departed leader. The Indira Bhavan became a sea of humanity as thousands of party workers swarmed the place quite early in the morning. The high security imposed owing to the visit of Ms. Gandhi added to the rush, but this did not deter people from lining up to pay homage to Karunakaran.

The State Government’s homage to the former Chief Minister was led by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan and his cabinet colleagues, all of who were present at the Durbar Hall. The entire political leadership of Kerala was present at the Durbar Hall.  Speaker K. Radhakrishan, Governor Sankaranarayanan, CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI leader Veliyam Bharghavan and the frontline leaders of the Congress paid homage to the departed leader. Former bureaucrats, serving bureaucrats, led by Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran were also present.

Karuankaran’s body was taken out in the decorated hearse to the Indira Bhavan at 9 a.m. Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Chidambaram, who arrived at 10.30 a.m., spent some 10 minutes at the Indira Bhavan before returning home. The body, which arrived at the Durbar Hall at 12.30 p.m., was taken to Thrissur by 1.50 p.m. It took the hearse more than an hour to reach the Durbar Hall ground as people had lined up on either side of the road, acknowledging his contributions to the city not only as Chief Minister but for also being its representative in Parliament once.

Karunakaran’s residence, Kalyani, witnessed a steady stream of visitors including bureaucrats, politicians and the general public, even very late Thursday night.

Keywords: Karunakaran