Chennai, Dec 16: United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday unveiled the statue of late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at the DMK headquarters in Chennai in the presence of senior opposition leaders.
The unveiling of Karunanidhi's statue is an occasion for parties to formalise and present an alternative political alignment, one that will be a counter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP government.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Kerala and Puducherry counterparts - Pinarayi Vijayan and V Narayanasamy - and leaders of DMK and several other parties, movie actors and industrialists. Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth also participated in the function.
Rajinikanth, the newest entrant to politics in Tamil Nadu, was seen sitting in the audience with another actor-turned-politician, Shatrughan Sinha.
Speaking at a public rally after the event, Naidu said people elected the BJP government but then it destroyed all institutions. "Federalism is destroyed. They are misusing CBI. It's a premier institution for corruption control, now it's muddled in corruption itself. They removed CBI Director. RBI Governor has resigned," he said.
"Even ED and IT department are being used to victimise politicians. Yesterday, you saw the Rafale case in Supreme Court. Even for SC, this government has filed wrong affidavit. Governors are misusing powers in Goa, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states," Naidu added.
Rahul Gandhi, while paying tributes to Karunanidhi, said though the DMK patriarch defended institutions of the country, "today we have a government that is attacking voice, culture, institutions of Tamil Nadu and our country". He said, "In memory of Karunanidhi Ji, all voices in India are going to get together and defeat BJP in next election."
"We aren't going to allow the destruction of the idea of India, the destruction of our institutions, the Supreme Court, the RBI, the EC. And we are going to stand together and do this (defeat BJP)," Gandhi added.