Hinting yet again at his retirement from active politics, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi Friday said he wished to soon follow in the footsteps of CPI(M) veteran Jyoti Basu, Dravida Kazagham leader, the late Periyar and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
"I am interested in following in their footsteps. Whatever good job that was left by us should be continued by the Deputy Chief Minister (his son M K Stalin)," the DMK patriarch said at an award function here.
This is the second time in recent months that Karunanidhi has given indications about his exit from active politics.
The Chief Minister's comments came when an awardee Tamiz Dhasan, during his speech, compared Karunanidhi to former West Bengal Chief Minister Basu, Periyar and Mandela.
Stating that Stalin should have to chip in to help him, Karunanidhi said, "The Deputy Chief Minister's job is meant for that."
Stalin is being viewed as heir apparent to Karunanidhi, who has, however, not officially committed on his successor.
Karunanidhi also wished a speedy recovery to Basu, who is critically ill and said he should continue to serve the nation. "He (Basu) is a good friend of mine. I wish him a speedy recovery and he should continue to serve the nation".
Stating that he had almost avoided the function due to tiredness, the wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi said he slept too long this morning and only doctors could wake him up.
During the function, nine noted writers received awards for their contribution in their respective fields. Each award carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh, a gold medal and a citation.