Chennai, Dec 17: In a first such gesture in recent years, AIADMK leaders M Thambidurai and D Jayakumar on Saturday visited Kauvery Hospital here where DMK chief Karunanidhi is undergoing treatment and enquired about the health of the nonagenarian leader.
"We were told that he (Karunanidhi) is well and that is a happy news," Thambidurai, who is also the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, said. Flanked by State Fisheries Minister Jayakumar, he said they spoke to DMK functionaries, former Ministers, MLAs, Karunanidhi's wife Rajathi Ammal and his daughter Kanimozhi about the hospitalised leader's health.
Quoting the DMK functionaries and family, Thambidurai said the DMK chief was getting well. "We conveyed our wishes for his speedy recovery and for him to return home soon," he told reporters here. He said they visited the hospital on behalf of the AIADMK and "Chinnamma (Sasikala) who is set to lead us".
The visit assumes significance as neither former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa nor any AIADMK leader has in the past about two decades ever visited Karunanidhi or other leaders of his party.
Both AIADMK and DMK leaders have not greeted each other in public functions either in recent history. Even during Karunanidhi's previous spell of hospitalisation early this month or in 2009, when the DMK chief was in a hospital for weeks for a surgery, no AIADMK leader visited or enquired about his health, an indication of the bitterness between the ruling party and arch rival DMK.
DMK treasurer Stalin visited Apollo Hospitals twice during Jayalalithaa's recent prolonged hospitalisation and he also led a battery of his party MLAs and placed a wreath on the body of Amma at Rajaji Hall here.
When AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran was Chief Minister between 1977 and 1987, the bitterness between his party and the DMK was however not so intense. Despite sharp differences and rivalry, both MGR and Karunandihi had a smooth personal equation and they were known to exchange greetings in functions and had even travelled together.
Meanwhile, former Union Minister P Chidambaram said, "I pray that he (Karunanidhi) gets well soon. I believe that he will fully recover." He said the DMK chief was being given good treatment and expressed confidence that the nonagenarian leader will soon return home.