Tuesday, Nov 25, 2003
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By S. Vydhianathan
The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the former Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, paying homage to the Union Minister, Murasoli Maran, at the Besant Nagar crematorium in Chennai on Monday.
The Public Secretary, T. Pitchandi, placed a wreath on behalf of the State Government. Floral tributes were also placed on behalf of the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The buglers sounded the Last Post and the service personnel gave a 21-gun salute.
Later, the body was taken inside the crematorium accompanied by Mr. Maran's family members and the DMK general secretary, M.K. Stalin.
The body draped in the Tricolour and the DMK flag was brought in a gun carriage from Mr. Karunanidhi's residence at Gopalapuram.
Mr. Vajpayee, who arrived at the crematorium at 6.35 p.m. along with Mr. Gujral, went straight to Mr. Karunanidhi and Mr. Maran's wife and offered his condolences.
While the Prime Minister left immediately after the body was taken inside, Mr. Karunanidhi and others stayed on.
The Union Ministers, T.R. Baalu, S. Tirunavukkarasar, H. Raja and A.K. Moorthy, the Telugu Desam Parliamentary leader, K. Yerran Naidu, the CPI (M)'s State secretary, N. Varadarajan, the MGR Kazhagam president, Rm.Veerappan, the BJP national secretary, L. Ganesan, the Dalit Panthers' general secretary, T. Tirumavalavan, and hundreds of DMK leaders and workers were present on the occasion. Earlier, the body was kept at Mr. Karunanidhi's residence for the public to pay homage.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Karnataka Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, the MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, and members of the diplomatic corps were among those who paid their respects.
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