Ten months ago, when he began the process of bringing in new faces into the party’s youth wing solely on merit, it looked like a difficult task in a party like the DMK. For, it has a strong organisational base and its district secretaries are a force to reckon with.
But what is now called the “Stalin Formula’’ in party circles has ensured a smooth transition. Youth wing secretary M.K. Stalin says he has succeeded in strictly implementing the age limit for organisers and deputy organisers and keeping away close family members of senior leaders from getting positions in the youth wing.
For organisers and deputy organisers in the town panchayats and panchayat unions, the upper age limit is 30, and in the case of districts, city districts and corporations, it is 40.
In the process, sons of many powerful district secretaries and leaders such as Veerapandi S. Arumugam, K. Ponmudi, M.R.K. Panneerselvam, I. Periyasamy, Thoothukudi K. Periyasamy, Karuppasamy Pandian and former Minister S.P. Sargunapandian had to step aside for new faces from their districts.
However, Parithi Ilam Suruthi, the son of Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, who has distanced himself from the party, has been accommodated as deputy organiser in North Chennai.
Similarly, former Minister Anthiyur Selvaraj’s son Parasivam has been given a position to accommodate a candidate from the Arudathiyar community.
“When they realised that we have evolved clear guidelines for selection, sons of many leaders opted out of the race. Some attended interviews for the sake of it and told me that they just wanted to meet me. The district secretaries also happily agreed to my formula,” Mr Stalin told on Thursday.
Mr Stalin said he visited all districts and interviewed around one lakh candidates. Finally only 5033 could make it. Asked whether it was fair to deny someone a position in the youth wing just because his father was union secretary or district secretary, Mr Stalin explained it was the only way to send out a message that new faces would also have space in the party organisation.
“The sons and daughters of party leaders can very well work in other wings of the party. Since youth wing is the second most important body, I want to strictly implement the guidelines,” he said.
Mr Stalin said he came across some candidates who had completed 40 only a few days or a few weeks ago. “In fact, they cried when I told them that rules cannot be altered for their sake. We double checked the birth certificate, if we had doubt about a candidate.” There were many candidates, whose fathers had worked with him in the youth wing since the 1980s.
“They brought albums and showed them posing with me when they were boys. It was a difficult for me to decide against them. But I had no choice,” Mr Stalin said.
Mr Stalin, who is also party treasurer, said a meeting would be organised and party president M. Karunanidhi and general secretary K. Anbazhagan would address the newly elected organisers and deputy organisers. It will be followed by a State conference.