Chief Minister, Cabinet colleagues pay their last respects
MADURAI: Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P.T.R. Palanivel Rajan (74) died following a massive heart attack at Dindigul early on Saturday.
He was proceeding to Madurai by the Pandiyan Express and had complained of uneasiness. A doctor on board examined him and advised emergency treatment. Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and Suba Thangavelan, travelling in the same train, rushed him to a private hospital, where he was declared dead.
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi flew down here to pay last respects to his long-time friend. A shocked Mr. Karunanidhi could only stand in silence after placing a wreath. He was not even able to offer consoling words to the family of the departed leader. He left the place after spending a few minutes.
Speaker R. Avudaiappan, Union Ministers Dayanidhi Maran and A. Raja, State Congress president M. Krishnassamy, Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary N. Varadarajan and many State Ministers were among those paid homage.
Celebration turns mourning
Hundreds of enthusiastic DMK cadres, with musical troupes, had turned up at the Madurai railway station to accord a grand reception to the Mr. Palanivel Rajan on his maiden visit to the city after becoming Minister.
The music abruptly fell silent as news of his demise spread. Even before the body reached the city, cadres made a beeline for his residence, where poignant scenes were witnessed.
Madurai Mayor C. Ramachandran said the demise of Mr. Palanivel Rajan was a great loss to Madurai. "People expected a lot from him as he had brought many schemes to Madurai in the past."
The cremation will take place after the arrival of Mr. Palanivel Rajan's son, Thyagarajan, who is air-dashing from Japan. He is expected to reach on Sunday evening, family sources said.