Alaigiri sticks to his stand on succession row

Alaigiri sticks to his stand on succession row

"I spoke what I wanted to a Tamil magazine. I accept Karunanidhi's view that leaders should be elected democratically. I will only accept a democratically elected leader. I spoke according to my conscience. I have the right to say whatever I want to," he said.

"If there is a democratic election, I will also contest. Why do we need to talk about all this when Karunanidhi is alive," Azhagiri, who returned here last night from an overseas trip, told reporters before emplaning for Madurai, a Lok Sabha seat which he represents.

Karunanidhi, in a bid to put an end to the succession war, had on Wednesday said that only the party had the power to name a leader, and even he could not do so.

Before embarking on his foreign tour, Azhagiri had stated in an interview last week that Karunanidhi was the only leader capable of leading the party.

Azhagiri's remarks in the interview had reignited the succession war that seemed to have settled with the promotion of his younger brother M K Stalin as deputy chief minister last year by Karunanidhi. Azhagiri himself was promoted to national politics after being inducted into the Union Cabinet.

In the interview, Azhagiri had said none other than Karunanidhi was acceptable to him as leader and that barring the 86-year-old party chief, none else had the capacity to lead the Dravidian party.

Asked to comment on his son's remarks, Karunanidhi had said, 'I myself do not know from which year my post-retirement era starts'.

Karunanidhi, who last year underwent major spinal cord surgery, making him wheelchair bound, announced in December that he planned to quit politics at the end of the World Classical Tamil meet at Coimbatore this June.

Explaining his surprise announcement, he had said he wanted to devote more time to writing, which is dear to his heart.

The succession war was triggered by a survey in 2007 by a Tamil daily 'Dinakaran', owned by grand nephews of Karunanidhi, Maran brothers -- Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi -- which put Stalin ahead of Alagiri as the political heir to the Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Stalin, who built up the DMK's youth brigade, a main pillar of the party, was first rewarded with local administration portfolio in 2006 when the party returned to power in the state.

A day after Azhagiri was sworn in as Union minister, Stalin was promoted as deputy chief minister and was also entrusted with the important portfolio of industry, once held by his father.

Azhagiri, the second son of Karunanidhi, is said to have been instrumental in not only broadening DMK's base in south Tamil Nadu, once considered an AIADMK bastion, but also ensuring his party's win in all Lok Sabha seats from the region last year. 

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