Mukherjee, who arrived on a half day tour to the state Friday, had two official engagements - one being unveiling a statue of the veteran leader at the Kanakakunnu Palace ground in the heart of the capital city.
The bronze statue of the four-time chief minister is 12.5 feet.
Elaborating on his four-decade-long association with Karunakaran whose third death anniversary is coming up on Tuesday, Mukherjee praised his administrative acumen and political calibre.
"Karunakaran had a combination of both (administrative acumen and political calibre). As union minister, I had seen his administrative capabilities. He was a leader endeared to the masses," he said.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), which Karunakaran made happen on the public-private partnership model when nobody had even thought of it, showed his acumen as a ruler.
He assured that steps would be taken as per the rule to name the airport after Karunakaran.
Karunakaran's son and Congress legislator K.Muraleedharan and his sister Padmaja Venugopal, who were also present on the occasion, thanked the people for the love and affection given to their father.
Mukherjee left for Kochi to take part in valedictory celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Dalit leader Ayyankali, before flying to Hyderabad.
--IANS (Posted on 21-12-2013)