Karuna settles succession: It?s Stalin | india | Hindustan Times
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Karuna settles succession: It?s Stalin

WHEN M.K. STALIN stopped at election meetings and spoke in stylised Tamil, the trademark style of his father and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, people saw it as the sign of things to come. On Saturday, when the 82-year-old Karunanidhi?s ministry swears in, Stalin will be part of it. As minister ? and heir apparent.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 01:27 IST

WHEN M.K. STALIN stopped at election meetings and spoke in stylised Tamil, the trademark style of his father and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, people saw it as the sign of things to come. On Saturday, when the 82-year-old Karunanidhi’s ministry swears in, Stalin will be part of it. As minister — and heir apparent.

Stalin will be a first timer in the state cabinet but his name appears fourth on the seniority list, overriding eight ministers as well as the speaker and deputy speaker of the previous DMK regime. It is more than a hint from Karunanidhi, a former screenplay writer: the line of succession is drawn.

In 1996, Karunanidhi had refrained from inducting his son as minister. Instead, Stalin became the city mayor. But a decade is a long time in politics. Stalin is now 55 and a grandfather though he is heading the party’s youth wing.

The DMK insiders say Stalin’s elevation is long overdue since this is his fourth term in the assembly. They even feel Stalin has been sidelined in the rise of the Gen Next: first-time MPs like Dayanidhi Maran — Stalin’s nephew — and Anbumani Ramadoss are ministers at the Centre.

To Stalin’s credit, he has been the dutiful son, never openly pressuring his dad for a seat. His quiet patience has made his stepping into his father’s shoes more acceptable within the DMK. “He is not like H.D. Kumaraswamy,” says a party member, comparing Stalin with H.D. Deve Gowda’s son across the border in Karnataka. “He would never cross the line drawn by his father.” The future is not ours to see but expect Karunanidhi to script a happy ending for this family saga.