War of words over Karuna interment

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Chennai: The grand Dravidian patriarch has been laid to rest beside his mentor on Marina but the unseemly squabble over his soft bed is refusing to die down. In fact, the war of words between the miffed family and the AIADMK Government has gone vicious and assuming a jarring tone.

DMK working president MK Stalin, writing his melancholic column, 'Ungalin Oruvan' (One Amongst You), in party organ Murasoli that appeared Thursday morning, alleged that the "vengefulness of the deceitful AIADMK Government" and the "evil scheming of those controlling them (state government)" had tried utmost to prevent the (DMK) party's sincere plans to fulfil their leader Kalaignar's promise given to his late mentor Anna that he would safely return 
his heart on reaching him.

It is not hard to diagnose from where all that bitterness came when the grieving son penned such anger aimed at the belligerent administration that had tried its best to derail the Marina plan. Stalin and the rest of the family, nay the entire DMK and even the public beyond, waited in anguish through the night as the body of the warhorse who had fallen at last, at 94, waited for the place of final rest.

"If you still cannot understand the torture that the family, the party and everybody else among the people went through when the request for Marina was rejected, you just need to see how Stalin and the others broke down when the news from the High Court reached them as they waited tense at the Rajaji Hall", said TKS Elangovan, DMK MP.

"Until then, Stalin tried to control himself but after the news came, he could not hold back his tears. He just collapsed on Durai Murugan's shoulder, while Raja (former Union Minister) and Kanimozhi held him".

Never mind all that, seems to be the government response to the unseemly controversy as it chose to hit back hard at Stalin's Murasoli missile. AIADMK organising secretary D. Jayakumar came out with a three-page statement slamming Stalin for his "toxic charge" on the Marina denial and "spewing venom through utter falsehood". It was the very same DMK that had filed five petitions in the High Court to shift Jayalalithaa's memorial away from Marina, the minister said. 

He said only to prevent any "last-minute legal hurdles and confusion" that might affect the DMK leader's last rites that the government had offered two acres of land close to the memorials of Rajaji, Kamaraj, Bhaktavatsalam and Rettaimalai Srinivasan for his burial and memorial. "Where is our political animosity in this?" asked the minister.

Seeking to throw back the 'animosity' charge at the DMK, Jayakumar recalled that the party seniors had stoutly opposed the placing of late Jayalalithaa's portrait in the Assembly just as they "spoke from public podiums" against having her memorial on the Marina. He also alleged that Karunanidhi had turned down requests for memorials for Kamaraj and V.N. Janaki on the Marina saying the place was reserved only for the CMs who died while in office. 

"The AIADMK Minister is misleading the people", said DMK's Elangovan. "We opposed Jayalalithaa's portrait in the Assembly because she had been convicted by the Supreme Court in corruption case. No requests had come for Marina memorials for Kamaraj and Janaki. On the other hand, Kalaignar had personally supervised the construction of a memorial for Kamaraj at Guindy". 

It remains to be seen if the last word has been said on this unseemly controversy over the late leaders' places of rest. 

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