Stalin named DMK working president

Special Correspondent

Chennai: At last, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the party that alternates power with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, has named DMK treasurer MK Stalin as working president.

Stalin’s elevation to the top party post from the position of treasurer on Wednesday is seen as a tacit admission by the party and DMK supremo MK Karunanidhi that his son has to take the reins of the party in view of the failing health of MK.

Stalin himself has admitted it while accepting the new responsibility. He said, “I accept the new responsibility with a heavy heart in view of the deteriorating health of my father Karunanidhi.” Apparently, touched by the new responsibility that was put on his shoulders, in a changed scenario, an emotional Stalin said: In view of the health status of party chief (Karunanidhi), I accept this position with a heavy heart.” Nevertheless, he made it clear that his work as party chief would be to help his father.

Stalin’s elevation is not a sudden development. For years, senior DMK leaders have been pressing the 92-year-old party patriarch to make his son party chief to pave the way for his future leadership as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. But Karunanidhi has been successfully dodging the issue, eyeing another term for himself. But in recent months, his illnesses and in-and-out hospital visits has prompted DMK veterans to persuade their chief to slacken his hold and take rest. The pressure on him has increased after the death of Karunanidhi’s beta noire and chief minister J Jayalalithaa last month.

Stalin, who is opposition leader in Tamil Nadu Assembly, is known to have running the party whenever his father is not actively involved in politics. In fact, he strategized the Assembly elections campaign last year. Since that time he has been the face of his party.

 It is interesting to see how the two Dravidian parties fare in Tamil Nadu in coming months with Jayalalithaa’s confidante K Sasikala at the top in the ruling AIADMK party and Stalin as DMK chief.

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