Fissures re-emerged in DMK after party chief M Karunanidhi hinted that Stalin would lead the party after him with his elder son M K Alagiri on Friday saying that DMK is not a "mutt" (religious sect) to appoint successor.
"DMK is not a mutt," was Alagiri's response when reporters approached him at the airport in Chennai to seek his reaction to Karunanidhi's statement that Stalin would succeed him.
Alagiri recalled that his father himself had said "DMK is not a Sankara Mutt". Addressing party workers yesterday, Karunanidhi gave the
clearest ever hint, saying "I will work for the cause of uplift of the society till death. So, for the question who after me, the answer is Stalin who is sitting amongst you and you should not forget it."
The 88-year-old leader had more than once given enough hints that Stalin is his political heir-apparent, an issue that had led to sibling rivalry with Alagiri, his elder son and union minister.
But, Karunanidhi's statement yesterday was the clearest hint ever, more so after the 2011 state Assembly electoral debacle which saw a growing clamour for Stalin taking over the party.
Ever since 59-year-old Stalin was given prominence in the party and elevated as deputy chief minister in 2009, there have been indications that he will succeed Karunanidhi.
Alagiri had openly resented such hints, saying he would not accept anyone else other than his father as leader. The Madurai strongman, who is two years elder to Stalin, had a couple of months ago made no secret about his unhappiness over selection of party functionaries in his home turf, particularly in the youth wing headed by Stalin.
Alagiri had said his recommendations were neglected by the party leadership, an indirect attack on Stalin.