Leaders of Congress, National Conference, Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPM, NCP and AAP set aside their political differences and appealed for opposition unity to unseat the ruling BJP.
CPI national secretary Sudhakar Reddy set the tone at the memorial meeting, which transformed in to a congregation of secular parties, by appealing for the defense of democracy. “Federalism and state autonomy were his (Karunanidhi) dearest subjects. Today, there is a need for a debate on federalism in the country. True federalism is needed for the integration of the country. We should not only remember him, we should strive for what he fought throughout his life. It is necessary that secularism, democracy and constitution should be defended in the present situation of the country.”
Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Emergency might have been bad. Indira herself said she will never repeat in future. Emergency might have been bad, but today’s is worse. There is a diffenrence between bad and worse. Much worse things are done now than during emergency. Karunanidhi would have reacted strongly against visible centralization of powers by BJP government” extending full support of congress to the newly elected president Stalin.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Somnath Bharati called Karunanidhi the true son of Bharat Mata who fought of federalism and state autonomy and said, “He fought tooth and nail against Centre’s interference in State’s affairs and politics.”
Former Prime Minister and JD (S) leader Deve Gowda described Karunanidhi as an “unparalleled and exceptional mass leader” and his demise as an “end of a glorious chapter in regional politics” and said, “He deserted the society when federalism is facing a great danger. The real tribute to the great leader would be taking forward the values cherished by him. At this critical juncture, Stalin has become the party president. I request almighty to give all strength to Stalin to carry the legacy of his father on his shoulder.”
The loudest and shrillest of voices against the BJP came from TMC MP Derek O Brien who stole the thunder by not only speaking mostly in Tamil but also appealing for a grand alliance to unseat BJP in no uncertain terms. “I have come to speak about a man who flourished as the king of Federalism. Every party embracing federalism should stand together and defeat the BJP in 2019. We have to save the country from BJP. We have to show Delhi that the future lies in Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Andhra and in so many Indian states.”