Taking a step closer to assume his party’s charge from the aging father, DMK treasurer MK Stalin has been named as the party Working President. His father Karunanidhi, the DMK patriarch and former CM of Tamil Nadu, has not been keeping well for some time.
Soon after taking the charge, Stalin said he is accepting the position with a heavy heart “in view of the health status of party chief”.
“Be it our president, general secretary or other senior leaders, I will follow the path shown by them and I’m ready to carry out the party activities with all your support,” he said.
63-year-old MK Stalin, who have served as the Deputy CM of the state during his father’s last tenure, faces a task in hand to bring his cadre-based party back to power. The party, though out of power since 2011, is in a robust position as the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu assembly.
Hailing his father Karunanidhi as a leader “who gave rest to rest itself”, he said such a “leader needs some rest.”
Delving into the circumstances surrounding his elevation, he said in view of the top leader’s health, the senior leadership after discussions decided that Karunanidhi needed rest and had “persuaded and urged” him to become working president.
Reminiscing about his decades-long political journey in the party, he said from a very young age, he grew up in a political ambiance when party workers gathered at their residence to meet his father and then party top leader Karunanidhi. “Gradually, I developed a desire, for public life,” he said.
Stalin said he began his political journey in DMK as a humble ward representative by fighting party polls. He said later he went on to the district-level responsibilities and highlighted that these elevations he witnessed “were not unanimous elections…I contested for such posts in a democratic manner”.
Later, he said he contested for the General Council membership and got elected and following that he similarly became Executive Committee member.
In 1980, when the DMK Youth Wing was founded, he was nominated as a member to the six member committee to steer the new party body. Later, he said he assumed responsibilities like organiser and then secretary for the youth body.
In his address, former minister and party principal secretary Duraimurugan said, “The 100-year-old Dravidian movement was led by many leaders like Kalaignar (Karunanidhi). The responsibility to steer the party now been cast upon the shoulders of Thalapathi (Commander) Stalin.”
Hailing Stalin as a leader who always upheld self- respect, a key ideal of the Dravidian movement, he said, “Brother, lead the party, we will abide your directives, this is a promise”.
Former Union ministers TR Baalu, A Raja, former state ministers, including I Periyasamy, EV Velu, K Ponmudi, KN Nehru, TM Anbarasan, MLAs and senior functionaries went to the Alwarpet residence of Stalin and greeted him on assuming the top post.
(With inputs from the PTI)