New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has condoled the death of veteran Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, who passed away in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
"It is with deep sorrow and a sense of great personal loss that I have learnt of the passing away of your father Shri K. Karunakaran. Karunakaranji was a veteran Congress leader, widely respected for his qualities of head and heart. He was a true patriot who served his country and Kerala with deep commitment and untiring zeal in a public career spanning more than six decades," said Dr. Singh in his condolence message.
"Karunakaranji distinguished himself in every public position he held. He was Chief Minister of Kerala four times. He was elected three times to the Rajya Sabha and twice to the Lok Sabha, and was the Union Minister for Industries in the mid nineties," he added.
Dr. Singh further said: "On a personal note, I had the privilege of benefitting from Karunakaranji's wisdom and experience many times. He was generous with his advice, which was always sagacious. I will miss him as a senior leader, a valued colleague in the Congress party and a close friend."
"Popularly known as "Leader" in Kerala, Karunakaranji will be long remembered for his love of his people, his concern and sensitivity to the problems of the poor and the underprivileged, and his administrative wisdom. On this sad occasion, I convey my heartfelt condolences to you and other members of the family, and to Karunakaranji's followers and admirers. I join all of you in praying for the departed soul," he added in his condolence message.
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)