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Stalin elected DMK president, says NDA must be ‘taught a lesson’

Calling for taking all steps to uplift the Dravidian people, he said the party should never abandon the ideologies of Dravidian movement stalwarts, EV Ramasamy Periyar and CN Annadurai.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2018 22:11 IST
M Manikandan, Chennai
Newly-appointed DMK chief Stalin,DMK president Stalin,new DMK president Stalin
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supporters garland the newly-elected party chief MK Stalin in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI photo)

MK Stalin, the son of late former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, on Tuesday took over as the president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and lashed out in his first address at both the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre , saying it needed to be “taught a lesson,” and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government in the state , calling for its removal.

Stalin, who was expected to take over after his father’s death on August 7, was elected at a general council meeting of the DMK at its headquarters in Chennai. He is only the second president of the DMK after his father held the post for 49 years. Party general secretary and Karunanidhi’s long-time associate, 96-year-old K Anbazhagan, read the resolution announcing Stalin as the president.

“Since no other person in the party has filed nomination for the president’s post, I am declaring Stalin as the president of the party. Also, I am scrapping the working president post in the party’s bylaw,” Anbazhagan announced amid loud cheers from DMK workers assembled at the party headquarters.

The executive committee of the DMK had on August 14 given the nod for Stalin’s elevation to president. Senior party leader S Duraimurugan was elected treasurer of the party in place of Stalin, who served as the DMK’s treasurer and working president until now.

Karunanidhi’s older son MK Azhagiri, removed from the party by his father in 2014 because of an apparent power struggle between the brothers, is seeking to make a comeback into the DMK. Azhagiri had claimed that his father’s old supporters are with him and warned on Monday that if he was not taken back into the DMK, the party would “face consequences”.

Stalin started his acceptance speech with his father’s trademark line: “En uyirilum melaana anbu udanpirappukale”( My beloved brethren who are above to me than my own life). The 65-year-old said that, unlike his father who was a well known scriptwriter and poet, “I cannot speak and write, but I am brave enough to face (the upcoming) challenges.”

Recalling his father’s praise of his hard work, he assured party workers that he will continue in the same vein till his death. “On this day, I am born again. I am a new man now. You (cadre) are seeing and hearing a new Stalin. I have a dream to take Tamil society to the next level with the genes of DMK -- secularism, social justice, self respect. I cannot realise this dream single-handedly. So, I would like to work together with the cadre for achieving my dream,” Stalin added.

He made it clear that he will continue to oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AIADMK. “The ruling AIADMK has given up on all the Dravidian principles despite having Anna in its name. We should remove this AIADMK government in the state. The BJP-led NDA government is also destroying the fabric of secularism and social justice in the country. The Narendra Modi-led government is trying to saffronise the country. So, we should teach them a lesson.”

The DMK was a part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre between 2004 and 2014. It was earlier a part of the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee but had withdrawn support in 2003.

Vinoj P Selvam, the BJP’s youth wing secretary in Tamil Nadu, said the party would take up the challenge and form the next government in the state.

“On the very first day of Stalin’s coronation, without speaking of his party’s principles,he has charged the PM (of trying to saffronise the country). The saffron brigade under PM Modi is ready for the battle. BJP’s Lotus (election symbol) will soon bloom in Tamil Nadu,” Vinoj said.

Gokula Indira, a former minister and senior AIADMK leader, said Stalin had become party president because he was Karunanidhi’s son “whereas CM Edappadi K Palaniswami has started his political career from the grassroots and achieved this stature through his hard work.” Indira added that there was no possibility of the DMK unseating the AIADMK because the “people are with us.”

Su Thirunavukkarasar, president of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, welcomed Stalin’s speech.

“There were many speculations saying DMK would align with BJP since DMK printed the name of (BJP president) Amit Shah in the invitation of Karunanidhi’s condolence meeting, which is to be conducted on August 30. However, Stalin cleared that his party is against BJP and they will not enter into an electoral alliance with BJP. We welcome his line,” Thirunavukkarasar told HT.

Alagiri didn’t comment on Staling’s speech, saying he wouldn’t say anything in public until September 5, when he is scheduled to address a public rally in Chennai.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 13:58 IST