Stalin asserts his position in DMK, turns emotional

DMK working president M K Stalin on Tuesday asserted that he was the chosen successor of his father M Karunanidhi even as members of the Executive Council that met here put their weight behind him for his take over as the party president.

“All of you present here know that when our Thalaivar (Karunanidhi) fell ill, I took over as the working president of the DMK with the blessings and support of our Thalaivar,” Stalin told the Executive Council of the DMK in a choked voice, without naming his elder brother M K Azhagiri who on Monday claimed he had the support of “true followers of Karunanidhi.”

“Let us be united and march towards achieving the goals of our leader Karunanidhi,” Stalin said in his speech, which was completely devoted to the departed DMK leader and how he fought for his rightful place at the Marina Beach even after his death.

Stalin's statement that he became the working president with the blessings of his father is his own way of telling Azhagiri that he can no longer nurse the ambition of challenging him, political observers said.

The Executive Council, which was convened to condole Karunanidhi's death and recall his contributions to the society, sounded like the 'coronation ceremony' of Stalin as the next president of DMK with speaker after speaker lavishing praises on his “leadership” and asking him to take over his father's chair in the party.

“Our Working President will be our new president,” announced Durai Murugan, the headquarters secretary of the DMK and a close aide of Karunanidhi, with his colleagues T R Baalu, K Pondmudy, K N Nehru, Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan and R Avudaiyappan devoting much part of their speech to plead with Stalin to take over as DMK President.

In an emotional speech that lasted for 15 minutes, Stalin narrated the harrowing experience he and his party seniors faced when the Tamil Nadu government refused to fulfill Karunanidhi's wish to be buried near the resting place of his mentor C N Annadurai on the Marina Beach and the last-minute hearing at the Madras High Court.

Recalling a conversation with Karunanidhi during the 1990s, Stalin said his father had told him and senior party leaders that they would have been “forced to bury” him near Annadurai's grave if the party had lost a battle in the Election Commission that sought to take away the famous Rising Sun symbol from the DMK.

“Likewise, if the Madras High Court had not allotted Marina Beach according to my father's wish, the situation would have led to my own burial,” he told the meeting, adding that he even held the hand of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and pleaded him to allot land on the Marina Beach for his father.

“We told the Chief Minister that it was Karunanidhi's wish to be buried near Anna's grave, but he told us that rules are against it, and the legal opinion is not in favour. But I told him, legal opinion reflects the government’s stand,” Stalin said.

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Stalin asserts his position in DMK, turns emotional

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