The Capital city of Thiruvananthapuram on Friday paid rich tributes to the departed Congress leader K. Karunakaran, for whom, as a politician and administrator, the city was a second home. People cutting across party lines and from various walks of life lined up in large numbers 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 his funeral on Saturday.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Union 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 State government's homage to the former Chief Minister was led by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his Cabinet colleagues, who were present at the Durbar Hall. The entire political leadership of Kerala was present at the Durbar Hall. Speaker K Radhakrishnan, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Mr. Moily, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI leader Veliyam Bharghavan and the frontline leaders of the Congress were present at the Durbar Hall. Former bureaucrats, and serving officers, led by Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran, joined in to pay their last respects to Mr. Karunakaran.
Karuankaran's body was taken out of his residence in a decorated hearse to Indira Bhavan at 9 a.m. Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Chidambaram, who arrived at 10.30 a.m., spent about 10 minutes at Indira Bhavan before returning to Delhi. 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 also for once being its representative in Parliament.
Karunakaran's residence, Kalyani, witnessed a steady stream of visitors till late on Thursday, even as grassroots party workers, well-wishers, and several others belonging to various walks of life continued to pour in. Special arrangements were made to regulate traffic during this period and also when the body was taken from his house.