Karunakaran cremated, PM pays homage (Second Lead)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

THRISSUR - The body of veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran was consigned to the flames on a sandalwood pyre here Saturday evening as his son K. Muraleedharan lit the pyre.

The pyre, comprising 300 kg of sandalwood, was lighted at 5 p.m. at the resting place of his wife.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had arrived here to pay homage to the departed leader who died Thursday at age 92.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid homage Friday at the party headquarters in the state capital. Karunakaran, four-time chief minister, was close to her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, and her husband’s grand father, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Seven state ministers, besides cabinet ministers and virtually all the Congress leaders in the state were present at the cremation.

The carriage carrying his body from the state capital to here, a distance of 300 km, took more than 18 hours as thousands lined up and waited for hours on the main road the whole of Friday night.

Karunakaran’s condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator. His condition improved in a few days but he suffered a stroke Wednesday. He died at 5.30 p.m. Thursday.

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