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Soon after DMK member Tiruchi Siva pleaded that Bharat Ratna be conferred to M Karunanidhi as a tribute to his contributions, rival AIADMK has also joined the chorus and demanded that the nation’s highest civilian award be bestowed to their departed leader J Jayalalithaa. Both the Tamil leaders have served as chief minister of the southernmost state five times. While 94-year old Karunanidhi died on August 7 after a brief illness, Jayalalithaa passed away in December 2016 at the age of 68.

Shiva, who has been joined by MDMK chief Vaiko in his demand, have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to honour Karunanidhi as he was a “Dravidian stalwart” and the “tallest leader of the country”. DMK members including Kanimozhi, daughter of the departed DMK leaders, have begun intense lobbying in Delhi.

Sensing this, the AIADMK has also renewed their demand to seek this award for Jayalalithaa. Last year, Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam had written to the PM to take steps to confer Bharat Ratna on the departed AIADMK supremo. The party is also demanding the installation of a life-size bronze statue of Jayalalithaa in the Parliament Complex.

The AIADMK founder and former chief minister MG Ramachandran had been conferred with Bharat Ratna in 1988.

Shiv has said that Karunanidhi has contributed 80 years to public life, fighting for the cause of the downtrodden, backward and the suppressed people.”I would urge the government to confer upon him posthumous Bharat Ratna Award which will be a real tribute for his outstanding and exemplary work which had left an indelible mark in the annals of history,” he said.

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