M. Karunanidhi's different tenures as Chief Minister have been characterised by the erection of different memorials or landmark structures
The present tenure is, of course, marked by the construction of the state-of-the-art Secretariat complex. Two memorials, the Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and the Thiruvalluvar statue at land's end in Kanyakumari, both dedicated to the saint-poet, stand testimony to his initiatives.
The Valluvar Kottam in Nungambakkam was conceived and built during Mr. Karunanidhi's first tenure that lasted from 1969 to 1976. In September 1974, sculptor S.K. Achar, who had already designed the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, launched the work on the Valluvar Kottam. In January 1976, the structure was ready, at a cost of Rs. 99 lakh. Mr. Karunanidhi was no longer in power when it was declared open by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed in April 1976. In a recent statement, he noted that he was not even invited to the event.
In January 1989, Mr. Karunanidhi assumed charge as Chief Minister again at a ceremony held at the Kottam.
The idea of installing a statue for Thiruvalluvar in Kanyakumari was floated towards the fag end of Mr. Karunanidhi's first tenure. On December 31, 1975, the State Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by him, approved the proposal. A month later, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government was dismissed and the State was brought under President's Rule. In April 1979, Prime Minister Morarji Desai laid the foundation stone for the statue project.
It was left to Mr. Karunanidhi to revive the project during his next tenure from 1989 to 1991. While presenting the Budget in March 1990, he announced that a 133-feet-tall statue for Thiruvalluvar would be installed in Kanyakumari. Six months later, he inaugurated the work. After he came back to power in May 1996, the statue project got a new lease of life. On New Year's day 2000, he unveiled the statue.
It is not just memorials that mark Mr. Karunanidhi's tenures in power. The construction of the TIDEL Park building, housing several information technology companies over a built-up area of 1.3 million square feet, was another high-point of his previous tenure. In July 2000, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared open the building. It cost Rs. 340 crore.