Chennai: The statue unveiling ceremony of the former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M.Karunanidhi on Sunday at the party’s headquarters in Chennai was a show of strength by the opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

The opposition leaders heavily criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led union government at a public meeting, after unveiling the statue of Karunanidhi.

In memory of Karunanidhi and for the respect of the people of Tamil Nadu, we are going to come together to defeat the BJP. We will not allow the destruction of the idea of India," said Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

He added: “I also thank the Tamil people who have always given direction for the national politics."

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who praised Karunanidhi’s contribution, also said, “Let the message go to the people of the state of Tamil Nadu and India that we will work together to preserve and safeguard the constitutional institutions and the idea of India.

DMK president M.K. Stalin Stalin termed Modi as a “sadist" for “thrusting the schemes opposed by the people of Tamil Nadu."

“If we allow another five years of Modi term, India will go back by fifty years… but Rahul has the ability to defeat the government of the fascist and nazist Modi."

Earlier, Sonia Gandhi accompanied by her son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, unveiled the eight feet bronze statue of Karunanidhi which has his traditional black spectacles with his right hand lifted high signalling the ‘rising sun’ symbol of the DMK, placed next to statue of party founder C.N. Annadurai at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam.

Soon after unveiling the statue of Karunanidhi, Sonia Gandhi and other leaders headed to Karunanidhi’s memorial at the Marina beach and, later took part in a public rally attended by leaders of various parties and cadres.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and their Puducherry counterpart V. Narayanaswamy were present at the event.

At the public rally Rahul Gandhi recalled that Karunanidhi was the voice of Tamil Nadu.

Naidu criticized the BJP for “damaging institutions like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and even misusing the Supreme Court."

“There is a democratic compulsion for all of us to come together," he said

Just a day before the Congress unseated the BJP in the assembly polls held in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, top leaders of several opposition parties met in Delhi in a effort to form a ‘grand alliance’ to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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