Chennai: Every Independence Day won't be complete if Tamil Nadu's late CM Muthuvel Karunanidhi is not remembered. Tamil Nadu's late chief minister is the pioneer of many firsts including appointing a Dalit priest in temples. But he needs a special mention on Independence Day because, if not for his fight and appeal, chief ministers in the state probably could not hoist the flag today.

Rewind to 1974, when he was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, he put up a fight with the Centre demanding the right to hoist the flag. Till then, the national flag was hoisted by the governor.

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Karunanidhi first became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 1969. Soon after coming to power, he made sure he campaigned for autonomy of the states. His slogan 'autonomy for states, federalism at the Centre' became popular and spread throughout Tamil Nadu.

Through the Rajamannar Committee which dealt with Centre-State relations, Karunanidhi got a resolution passed in Tamil Nadu to get more autonomy for the states in 1974.

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The same year, Karunanidhi wrote to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, demanding the right for chief ministers to hoist the flag during Independence Day. Indira Gandhi agreed to the demand and the rest is history. Chief ministers began to hoist the flag on Independence Day and governors were asked to do the honours on Republic Day.

Thus, after this development, M Karunanidhi became the first chief minister in India to hoist the flag on Independence Day in 1974 in Chennai.

M Karunanidhi died on August 7, 2018 in Chennai.