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Leaders hail Nallakannu as man of toiling masses

Special Correspondent

On his 80th birthday, CPI veteran's struggle for welfare of poor hailed

CHENNAI: Speakers at a meeting here on the occasion of the 80th birthday of R. Nallakannu, central committee member of the Communist Party of India (CPI), praised him for his continuing contribution to the cause of the working class and peasants.

Leaders including CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi, TNCC president G.K. Vasan, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss, and State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) N. Varadarajan, referred to Mr. Nallakannu's role during the freedom struggle and in the post-independence period.

Mr. Bardhan described Mr. Nallakannu as a dedicated communist, whose life was inseparably intertwined with the history of the communist movement in the country.

Mr. Karunanidhi said Mr. Nallakannu had set an example for simplicity and austerity in public life. At the same time, he would always remain a fearless fighter in the struggles for protecting the interests of the oppressed people, more particularly dalits and backward classes. Repression by "the oppressive classes" and jail terms could not weaken his commitment and conviction.

Mr. Vasan said the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), under the guidance of seasoned leaders like Mr. Karunanidhi and Mr. Nallakannu should work to defeat the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the next Assembly elections.

Dr. Ramadoss stressed the need for unity among the DPA parties to face the AIADMK in the Assembly elections. Mr. Vaiko cautioned against any complacency on the part of the alliance parties while facing the "conspiracies" of the ruling party.

Mr. Varadarajan underscored the need for unity of the Left, democratic and secular forces to fight threats posed by casteism and communalism. Mr. Nallakannu always respected the views of others without compromising on his ideology, he said.

D. Raja, CPI national secretary, said despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, the "world communist movement continued its onward march." Ponnambala Adigal of Kunrakudi commended Mr. Nallakannu's contribution to "helping youth release themselves from the clutches of casteist forces" in the southern districts.

Mr. Bardhan released the 80th birthday souvenir. The State CPI secretary, D. Pandian, and the State party treasurer, M.S. Dawood, handed over a party fund of Rs. 1 crore to Mr. Nallakannu.

Mr. Nallakannu said he would continue to work for the welfare of the oppressed sections and the downtrodden.

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