In an apparent bid to put an end to the succession war ignited by his son and Union minister MK Azhagiri, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi has said only the party has the authority to name a leader.
"Even I don't have the powers to do so," Karunanidhi said in an interview to Tamil magazine Nakeeran when asked about Azhagiri's remarks that only he (Karunanidhi) has the capacity and ability to lead the party.
"In a democracy, every individual has a right to express his opinion, but the party is the final authority to decide on
the leadership issue. Even I don't have the powers," he said.
Asked about reported difference of opinion between his two sons -- Azhagiri and Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin --
on the succession issue, Karunanidhi denied it, saying, "They very well know that if they have any differences, it will only hurt me. They are not ignorant about this."
This comes days after Karunanidhi praised his younger son MK Stalin while speaking at a rally, saying Stalin was not just Deputy CM. "Stalin converts my thoughts into action." he said. Karunanidhi had not mention his elder son Azhagiri in his speech.
The feud between Karunanidhi's sons had intensified recently with Azhagiri telling a Tamil magazine that he does not think anyone except Karunanidhi has the capacity to lead the DMK, throwing ample hints that he is not willing to let younger brother MK Stalin walk away as the successor of DMK leader.
This is being seen as a direct challenge to Stalin, who is being seen by many as Karunanidhi's successor, particularly since he was made deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at a time when Azhagiri was sent to Delhi to become a UPA minister.
Observers say while in terms of organisational support, Stalin and Azhagiri are evenly poised, Stalin has established himself as DMK's public face in Tamil Nadu.
(With PTI inputs)