Veteran Left leader Sankaraiah celebrates 100th birthday

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Chennai, Jul 15 (PTI) N Sankaraiah, veteran CPI(M) leader and freedom fighter celebrated his 100th birthday here on Thursday with the party announcing year long celebrations.

Chief Minister M K Stalin and other leaders, cutting across party lines called on the Communist veteran and extended their greetings.

Stalin, alongwith Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy and party leaders including T R Baalu, A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran visited Sankaraiah here and honoured the leader with a shawl.

The CM tweeted hailing Sankaraiah for leading a life of sacrifice for the nation and wished him many more years of good health and guide leaders like him in public life.

CPI(M) top leader Sitaram Yechury who greeted the senior party colleague in person said Sankaraiah continued to inspire.

'Greeting Com. N Sankariah on his birthday as he enters 100th year. Continues to inspire generations of people with his calls for liberation in his booming voice even today as he has been doing for over 8 decades,' Yechury tweeted.

CPI(M) State Secretary K Balakrishnan, who was among those from the party who visited the nonagenarian leader to honour him said celebrations would be held through the year to mark the centenary year (2021-22).

The party would reach out to the youth, on the leader's patriotism and his life of sacrifices for the nation.

Born on July 15, 1922, Sankaraiah had been a member of the legislative Assembly thrice and he was the CPI(M) State Secretary from 1995 to 2002.

MDMK chief Vaiko, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K S Alagiri, IUML's Abubacker, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Vanni Aarasu were among those who called on Sankaraiah.

CPI(M) Politburo member G Ramakrishnan hailed Sankaraiah's yeoman service to the nation and recalled the leader's arrest in 1941, when he was a student.

In an article in Tamil daily 'Dinamani' Ramakrishnan recalled that the top leader, when asked on why he did not avail the pension for freedom fighters had responded that getting jailed for the sake independence was by itself a gift.

'He was in prison for four years during the independence movement and four years in independent India and in total, he spent eight years in jail.' Ramakrishnan said the leader embodied struggle and it was for independence, people's welfare and for social change which still continued.

PMK founder leader S Ramadoss, greeting the Left leader said in a statement that the present generation should learn about Sankaraiah's life history, his honesty and discipline in politics.

The veteran Communist leader had taken part in anti- Hindi agitation held in 1938, Quit India movement and it is very rare to see clean leaders like Sankaraiah in public life, the PMK leader said. PTI VGN ROH ROH

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