DMK patriarch and chief minister M Karunanidhi is not going anywhere near retirement, despite his oft repeated desire to do so.
Playing down his father’s recent and latest hint at taking up only the party post made earlier this week, his son and deputy chief minister MK Stalin reiterated that his father will be the chief minister if DMK wins the forthcoming assembly elections.
Stepping in to rein excited cadres on Tuesday night at a party rally at Vellore, some 150 km west of Chennai, Stalin declared “let there be no doubt, the DMK will return to power in Tamil Nadu with only Kalaignar as the chief minister.”
Karunanidhi is fondly referred to as Kalaignar by his admirers.
Stalin was into a tirade against AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa when enthusiastic supporters hailed him as the adutha muthavalar (next chief minister). He signaled the party workers to pipe down and made his assertion that the next government would be headed by his father only.
Stalin’s reiteration runs contrary to belief and speculation among DMK circles that were hoping to see a change of guard, following Karunanidhi’s comments made just two days before, that he would be far more happy being the party boss rather than head the government.
Karunanidhi’s comments made at the marriage function of a relative of a state minister at DMK headquarters on Monday, led to speculations of succession after the elections.
DMK sources have been asserting that all was well in the first family of the ruling party even elder son and union chemicals and fertilizers minister MK Alagiri had been won over with a promise of a senior party post. Significantly, Alagiri has withdrawn his threat to quit the party and actually denied that he has had ever mentioned it even.
Stalin’s forceful assertions on Tuesday night only confirm what the political analysts here maintain -- Karunanidhi was in no hurry to hang his boots as he still wanted to chieve the distinction of becoming the chief minister for the sixth time.
Karunanidhi had also sparked off a major speculation and infighting within the family after he publically announced in December 2009 that he would quit the government after the conclusion of the World Classical Tamil Conference in June 2010 at Coimbatore.