Moopanar’s name will stand out forever: President

The President today led the nation in condoling the death of the Tamil Maanila Congress president, Mr. G.K. Moopanar, in Chennai, early this morning. The Vice- President, the Prime Minister, several Union Ministers, political leaders and both the Houses of Parliament joined in paying homage to the departed leader.

In his condolence message, the President, Mr. K.R. Narayanan, described Mr. Moopanar as a true leader of the people who distinguished himself through service to the poor and the downtrodden.“Moopanar’s name will stand out forever as a bright example of a man of principles and values in the midst of surrounding gloom and confusion of values in our political life.”

The Vice-President, Mr. Krishan Kant, said politics was an instrument for Mr. Moopanar to bring hope and joy to the millions of the poor and the deprived. In his passing away, the nation has lost a true nationalist, a messiah of the poor, an able parliamentarian and a paragon of simplicity, genteel courtesy and honesty.

Expressing shock, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, said the late leader had always striven to uphold democratic norms and values, in Parliament and elsewhere and one who never lost sight of grassroot realities. “While upholding regional pride, he was always conscious of the need to strengthen national unity” and that his death had left a void both in Tamil Nadu and national politics.

The Rajya Sabha adjourned today after the Chairman, Mr. Krishan Kant, made obituary reference to the death of its member, Mr. Moopanar. The House observed silence in memory of the departed soul. The Vice-President is scheduled to head a delegation of MPs from the House to attend the funeral. A high- powered Congress delegation comprising Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mr. M.L. Fotedar, Mr. Oscar Fernandes and the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Pondicherry will represent the party.

The Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. G.M.C. Balayogi, said Mr. Moopanar was a quiet and affable person who had earned the goodwill and respect of people and leaders cutting across party lines.

Mourning the death, the BJP president, Mr. K. Jana Krishnamurty, said the selfless service of Mr. Moopanar to the State and the nation both as a Congressman and the leader of TMC would always be remembered by the people of the country in general and Tamil Nadu in particular.

The CPI(M) general secretary, Mr. Harkishan Singh Surjeet, recalling his association with Mr. Moopanar, said the departed leader had “immense organising abilities and the political acumen to strengthen the democratic movement in the country as a whole” and that his demise would be a big loss to the democratic forces and the TMC.

Expressing its grief, the CPI Central Secretariat said Mr. Moopanar was always firm in upholding secularism and putting up an uncompromising fight against all communal forces. “His outlook was devoid of parochial considerations…He was always sober in his approach towards several contentious issues and was thus instrumental in solving them.

The Union Ministers, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Mr. Sharad Yadav and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi also condoled the death of Mr. Moopanar. The AICC general secretary incharge of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, said Mr. Moopanar was a great well wisher of the Congress party even after he had left it. Describing him as the simplest politician of recent times, Mr. Azad said he was above casteism, communalism and regionalism, a true nationalist who was known for his honesty. Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer said he was both the symbol and the substance of the Congress party in the State for over a quarter century.