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Stalin set to be DMK president, elevation for Kanimozhi on cards

But no decision had been taken about the induction of Karunanidhi’s other son MK Azhagiri, who was expelled from the party in 2014 after a turf war between him and Stalin, a DMK leader said.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2018 23:47 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Karunanidhi had publicly anointed Stalin as his heir in 2015. (PTI File Photo)

Three days after the death of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M Karunanidhi, the wheels are being set in motion for his son MK Stalin’s elevation as party president with an emergency executive committee meeting called on August 14 at the party headquarters in Chennai, according to leaders familiar with the developments.

The official announcement of the emergency meeting was made soon after party general secretary K Anbazhagan on Friday met Stalin, who is currently the party’s treasurer and working president.

“Though the executive committee does not have the power to elect the party president, it can give the nod to making Stalin the president. After that, it will be endorsed in the general council meeting -- in which a formal announcement can be made,” said a senior DMK office-bearer on the condition of anonymity.

Apart from Stalin, Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP MK Kanimozhi may also be elevated -- as either the party’s deputy general secretary or treasurer, according to a second DMK leader familiar with the matter.

But no decision had been taken about the induction of Karunanidhi’s other son MK Azhagiri, who was expelled from the party in 2014 after a turf war between him and Stalin, the leader added.

Stalin’s elevation is not a big surprise since Karunanidhi had spoken about Stalin as his successor on a few occasions in the past -- including during Stalin’s birthday celebrations in 2015 and in an interview to Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan in October 2016.

When contacted, TKS Elangovan, a party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, said the reason for the executive committee meeting was “only to pass condolence resolutions”.

He said: “Until the general body election is convened, the president post will be kept vacant.”

This is the first time in five decades that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam the party president’s post has been vacant. Karunanidhi was the first and only president of the party since 1968. Even his mentor and former state chief minister CN Annadurai was designated as a founder of the party and not as its president.

“If Stalin is elevated as president, the post of treasurer in the party will fall vacant. Kanimozhi may have that as her first preference,” said the second DMK leader. “As per the DMK by-laws, one leader from the OBC (Other Backward Classes) community, two women, and one Dalit should be appointed as deputy general secretaries. Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan and Sarguna Pandian were appointed as deputy general secretaries 2014. After the demise of Sarguna Pandian in August 2016, one reserved post for a woman for deputy general secretary is still vacant. So there is a possibility to appoint Kanimozhi as deputy general secretary,” the second leader added.

Political analyst Raveendran Duraisamy said the succession is likely to boost the morale of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres ahead of the 2019 Lok Sanba elections. “Since 2016 when Karunanidhi turned inactive due to his poor health, Stalin started to take control of various wings of the party. Electing him as the president will not be an issue . Also, Kanimozhi has a sizeable base in the south-east and central Tamil Nadu. To strengthen her political career, she would be also elevated. However, it is up to Stalin to decide about the induction of Azhagiri,” Raveendran said.

First Published: Aug 10, 2018 23:17 IST