Karunanidhi plumps for son and party treasurer at a felicitation function
He has hinted at it many times in the past, but DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s remarks on Sunday conveyed an unequivocal message that his vote would be for his son and party treasurer M.K. Stalin if a question arose as to who would shoulder his responsibility.
Citing two couplets from the Tirukkural, spelling out the roles expected of a father and a son, Mr. Karunanidhi said while as a father he had done his duty by securing a prominent place for Stalin in the world, Mr. Stalin too fulfilled what was expected of a son. “He is living up to my expectations totally.”
The meeting was organised to felicitate Mr. Stalin and former Union minister T.R. Baalu on their return to Chennai after submitting a memorandum to the United Nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seeking a referendum on the future of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Mr. Karunanidhi’s speech seemed to favour Mr. Stalin in the event of a succession question. It was a matter of pride and extreme happiness, he said, that Mr. Stalin was living up to his expectations, and in line with the principles enunciated by the Kurals he had quoted, but the media could report his speech mischievously.
“But, I am not bothered about the poisonous seeds likely to be sown by them. I have the responsibility to protect the party, and when there is a need to select a person for that responsibility, you already know who will be my choice and that of K. Anbazhagan, the party’s general secretary,” he said.
The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi was among the large crowd that received Mr. Stalin and Mr. Baalu at the airport and later joined the felicitation, belying speculation even within the party that there was a silent competition between her and Mr. Stalin.
As the challenge from his elder brother and Union Minister M.K. Alagiri has proved to be easy for Mr Stalin to handle, party sources say Ms. Kanimozhi could emerge a potential competitor.
Her arrest and imprisonment in connection with the 2G spectrum scandal has won her the sympathy of DMK workers, who feel that she had suffered for the party.
Mr. Stalin also made use of the occasion to extend an olive branch to his half-sister by acknowledging the role played by her in facilitating a meeting with Navanethem Pillai, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mr. Stalin said he and Mr. Baalu were unable to get an appointment with Ms Pillai initially, but Ms. Kanimozhi called him to inform them that she was facilitating a meeting. “We could meet her only because of Kanimozhi’s efforts.”
As regards the allegations that a few Sri Lankan Tamils present in London were highly critical of the DMK and had accused the party of not doing anything for them despite being in power, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan said he had explained to them that the DMK had paid a heavy price for supporting the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.
Mr. Stalin and Mr. Baalu had attended a meeting of the British Tamil Forum in London.
“I was asked by some Sri Lankan Tamil friends about my party’s presence in the DMK alliance. I told them that it was immaterial since my commitment to the Tamil cause was strengthened by the DMK,” said Thirumavalavan, who also attended the London meeting.