Chennai: Janata Dal (Secular) chief H D Deve Gowda visited ailing DMK president M Karunanidhi at a hospital on Friday and recalled the support of the nonagenarian leader in making him the Prime Minister in 1996.
"He (Karunanidhi) was also responsible for making me the Prime Minister in 1996 and I cannot forget it," he told reporters after visiting Karunanidhi at Kauvery Hospital.
Lauding Karunanidhi for serving the people of Tamil Nadu as Chief Minister for five terms, he said the DMK chief had also played a major role in providing a stable government at the Centre.
"All the coalition governments (at the Centre) stood on his support," he said.
He was referring to coalition governments headed by Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and himself in the past, to which the DMK had lent support.
The former Prime Minister said he prayed for Karunanidhi's speedy recovery, long life and good health and described him as the country's senior most leader.
The DMK patriarch should 'cross a century and serve the people of the nation," he said.
Asked if he met the DMK chief in person, Gowda said he saw him from a distance in the ICU, since doctors had advised against getting close to the ailing leader to avoid infection.
Earlier, DMK working president M K Stalin and party Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi received Gowda at the hospital.
Actors Vishal and Vineet were among others who visited the hospital on Friday.
Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital on July 28 following a dip in his blood pressure.
On July 31, the hospital said the leader would require an extended period of hospitalisation due to "decline" in his general health, though his vital parameters have normalised.