Karunanidhi celebrates his 85th birthday in Chennai

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Chennai, June 3 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi today turned 85.

Party members of regional Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) greeted Karunanidhi in Chennai.

The cabinet colleagues and senior party leaders of DMK celebrated the birthday of the veteran leaders and wished for his long and healthy life.

"Our leader Karunanidhi is biggest of all leaders. We heartily wish that he lives in a healthy manner for more than 100 years. Hence, on this day, we along with people of all the religions are praying for his good health," said Saalam Basha, a resident.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the Karunanidhi over telephone.

The octogenarian leader during his conversation with the Prime Minister requested him to rename the controversial Sethu Samudram project as Sethu Ram project.

He also called for speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram canal project, which he dubbed as his only wish on his birthday.

The Sethusamudram Ship Canal at the Ram Setu, a major new shipping lane project is expected to reduce ship journeys between western and eastern coasts by up to 36 hours by creating a channel between India and Sri Lanka. The project is opposed by Hindu religious organisations.

Hordes of people holding garlands and bouquets thronged the road outside party headquarters, to greet the leader.

Children dressed as angels queued up on the street to seek blessings of the leader. Party members offered a variety of gifts ranging from fruits to energy drinks and dry fruits to the oldest chief minister on his birthday.

"Lakhs and lakhs of people are coming here and getting blessings from him. People are praying for his life to be up to 100 or more than 100 years," said Gnanaprakasam, another resident.

Interestingly, the restaurant across the state slashed the prices of popular dishes like 'Idli' and 'Dosa' by 10-15 per cent on the occasion.

Karunanidhi who has been Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times entered politics at the age of 14. He holds the record of winning every election that he fought in his political career spanning over 60 years.

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