A united opposition was all praises for DMK supremo Kalaignar M Karunanidhi during the celebrations of his 94th birthday.
The YMCA grounds in Chennai was packed with supporters of not just the DMK but also workers of the Indian National Congress, Left parties and fans of political bigwigs who thronged to greet their leaders.
A host of leaders from non-NDA parties was on the dais as M K Stalin emerged the most prominent Dravidian leader. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress' Rahul Gandhi, National conference's Omar Abdullah, TMC's Derek O'Brien, Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India's D Raja, Indian Union Muslim League's K M Kader Mohideen along with other prominent political faces like Durai Murugan, T R Balu, Majid Memon, K C Tyagi, Mukul Wasnik, Rangarajan were in attendance. Mamata Banerjee and Lalu Prasad Yadav gave the event a miss despite being invited personally.
"Had Karunanidhi been active now he would have been the first person to oppose the BJP's fascist government and the imposition of Hindutva. Kalaignar has always stood for cooperative federalism at the centre and for autonomy in the state," said CPI's D Raja.
While most leaders of the opposition who had gathered at the venue attacked the Narendra Modi government, Nitish Kumar limited his speech to praise Karunanidhi.
The Bihar Chief Minister was careful not to evoke either the BJP or Narendra Modi in his speech. Nitish Kumar hailed Karunanidhi and his efforts to ensure social justice both as a politician and a writer.
"I am confident that M K Stalin will become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. I only hope that he walks the path that Kalignar did," Nitish Kumar said.
In stark contrast to D Raja, Nitish Kumar did not attack the BJP as expected. Nitish Kumar has been refraining from criticising the Modi government much to the dismay of his alliance partner in Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Rahul Gandhi who was at the event attacked the BJP and Narendra Modi. We will not let the RSS and Narendra Modi impose one idea in the country. We will never allow silencing of more than a billion Indian voices," said Rahul Gandhi even as he criticised demonetisation. "The world is saying that demonetization has wrecked our economy. What Arun Jaitley isn't telling is that the Prime Minister wont even ask him about demonetization," he said.