'I am deeply pained to learn of Karunakaran's demise', says Krishna

New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): Condoling the death of former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Thursday said that he is deeply pained to learn of the demise of the veteran Congress leader.

"I am deeply pained to learn of the demise of Mr. K Karunakaran, my good friend and colleague for so many decades. A political stalwart and tall leader of the Congress party, he served the nation with distinction and acumen," said Krishna in his condolence message.

"During his several innings as Chief Minister of Kerala, he was instrumental in bringing about rapid socio-economic development of the state. I convey my heartfelt condolences to members of his family and friends as well as the people of Kerala," he added.

Karunakaran breathed his last today after suffering a stroke and acute breathing problems at a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

He was 93, and hospitalised on December 10 following a complaint of severe breathing problems.

Karunakaran was the chief minister of Kerala four times. He took charge as chief minister for the first time in March 1977, but had to resign within a month of taking office, following certain references by the Kerala High Court in what came to be known as Rajan case.

He became the chief minister again on December 28, 1981, but resigned on March 17, 1982, following the withdrawal of support by a member of the Kerala Congress (M). Midterm elections to the seventh Kerala Legislative Assembly was held on May 19, 1982.

After a series of unsuccessful attempts to regain supremacy in the Kerala wing of the Indian National Congress, dissidents led by him fell foul of the Congress high command.

A veteran parliamentarian, whose political career spanned over five decades, Karunakaran was elected thrice to the Rajya Sabha and twice to the Lok Sabha. He was a member of Rajya Sabha during 1995-97, 1997-98 and 2004-2005. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram in 1998 and from Mukundapuram Constituency in 1999.

Karunakaran was Minister for Industries in the Union Cabinet for a year in 1995.

He was also Kerala"s home minister when emergency was imposed in the country in the mid-1970s. After the emergency, the Rajan case rocked Kerala politics like no other issue before and Karunakaran was forced to step down.

Congress leaders and other political outfits have condoled the demise of the renowned politician, who was affectionately called "Leader" by Congress activists. (ANI)

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