Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 23: Defence Minister A.K. Antony paid glowing tributes to departed Congress leader K. Karunakaran Thursday, describing him as a kingmaker in national politics.
Four-time chief minister of Kerala, Karunakaran passed away Thursday evening at 5.30 p.m. at a private hospital here.
'At one point of time, Karunakaran went on to be a kingmaker of national politics, such was his stature,' said Antony.
Antony arrived at Karunakaran's home late in the evening to pay his tributes.
'I am sad that I was not able to see him after he was admitted to the hospital. I reached here cancelling a programme that I had when I learned that he was serious. I reached two hours late and hence could not see him.
'I first came in contact with Karunakaran 46 years back when I was elected as the Kerala Students Union president and since then, we have had a long and enduring relationship. It is true that at times we have had differences of opinion but even during that time, we had the best of personal relations and we made sure that there was always a mutual respect,' said Antony.
'I always believed that Karunakaran was one who led the party from the front in the state. I used to meet him every time I came to the city,' he added.
Antony occupied the Kerala chief minister's post thrice and also replaced Karunakaran on two occasions following political developments.