DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Monday celebrated his 89th birthday in a low key manner, but the occasion provided an opportunity for leaders and partymen to reinforce their faith in his leadership at a time when the party is going through some difficult times.

Even though the DMK has quit the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress and has only the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) for company, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi wished Mr. Karunanidhi on his birthday.

The party has only 23 members in the Assembly and has not yet found a way to send one of its nominees to the Rajya Sabha. The term of three DMK members including Mr Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi is coming to an end in July.

Mr. Karunanidhi started his day by planting a sapling at his Alwarpet residence in the company of Ms Kanimozhi and others. Later, he visited Gopalapuram, where many senior leaders including his elder son and former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri called on him. After paying his respects to Periyar, founder of the Dravidian movement, at his memorial, Mr Karunanidhi received scores of partymen who waited to have a glimpse of him at Anna Arivalayam. He was showered with presents, garlands and shawls. DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin, former minister Durai Murugan, T.R. Baalu and A. Raja were among those present on the occasion.

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