CHENNAI, Aug 8 - Muthuvel Karunanidhi, a doyen of Dravidian politics, was today laid to rest on the Marina beachfront as a sea of humanity bid him a tearful farewell after an unsavoury courtroom battle his party won to secure for him the final resting place at the Chennai landmark.
The country�s high and mighty descended on the city to pay their last respects to the �Thalaivar� (the leader), school dropout, who left an indelible imprint on the state�s public life over decades through his literary, cinematic and political achievements.
The 94-year-old leader had breathed his last at a hospital here after fighting for life for 11 days.
A galaxy of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and his Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh counterparts Pinarayi Vijayan, K Chandrasekhar Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu were in attendance.
So were CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, his predecessor Prakash Karat, and former chief ministers of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh Oommen Chandy and Akilesh Yadav.
Karunanidhi was buried with full military honours with soldiers giving him a gun salute and buglars sounding the last post. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Rahul Gandhi, union minister and the lone BJP Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Pon Radhakrishnan, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad placed wreaths at the feet of the departed leader at the Marina.
Karunanidhi�s son and heir apparent M K Stalin received the national flag wrapped around his father�s body. Other family members including the leader�s wife Rajathi Ammal, other sons and daughters showered flower petals at his feet.
In poignant scenes, Stalin was seen crying inconsolably after touching his father�s feet before the casket containing Karunanidhi�s body was lowered into the grave. The leader�s youngest daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi fondly caressed his head and cheek one last time.
Karunanidhi being a self-proclaimed atheist and rationalist, no Hindu rituals were performed.
Earlier in the day, as thousands of grieving DMK supporters, leaders and celebrities filed past the golden casket containing the mortal remains of the leader draped in the national tricolour at the stately Rajaji Hall, a courtroom battle raged over where he should be buried.
The state�s AIADMK government had yesterday rejected the DMK�s demand for space at the Marina for Karunanidhi�s burial and construction of a memorial to him, citing pending litigations over ecological concerns. The DMK had swiftly moved the Madras High Court which partially heard its petition around midnight and resumed the hearing at 8 this morning.
The court ruled in DMK�s favour and the Thalaivar got his final resting place next to his mentor and former chief minister C N Annadurai.
�There is no legal impediment for not allotting the place... Provide a place for a decent burial forthwith in terms of the rough sketch given by the petitioner,� the division bench of the court comprising Acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and S S Sundar ruled.
�There is no legal impediment for not allotting the place. Already allotted place in the Marina for all Dravidian leaders. There is no need to take different stand in the present case,� the bench said. � PTI