Wait till the month of June next year.
This was the response of Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday, answering a question to whom he would hand over the reins of the government following his observation on Saturday that he would like to step aside the positions of power and politics to get closer to people.
The Chief Minister was talking to reporters after launching the website for the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held in Coimbatore in June 2010. He added that the intervening period was a fairly long one.
Asked for his comment on the prevalence of two viewpoints in the DMK that while one section wanted Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to assume charge, another section was against his (Mr. Karunanidhi’s) retirement, the DMK president replied that “we would consider the two divergent viewpoints”.
To External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s observation that the Katchatheevu agreement [signed between India and Sri Lanka in 1974] was a settled matter, the Chief Minister said that even though the pact was considered a settled issue, there were mutually acceptable provisions, particularly the access to pilgrims and fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen. “These provisions formed part of the agreement at the time of concluding the pact. But, there were reports that during the Emergency, the Sri Lankan government had gone back on the provisions. Subsequent events confirm them,” he said, adding that the violation of the provisions should be noted.
Elaborating his point further, the Chief Minister said that the review of the agreement was not the issue now. But, what was extremely important was that no harm should be caused to the fishermen of the State and Sri Lankan Tamils.
Asked about the fishermen’s ongoing protest against the draft Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill, he expressed the hope that the Union government would take an appropriate decision.
On the argument of a section of educationists that the Equitable Standard Education should envisage the instruction of education only through the mother tongue, Mr Karunanidhi replied that the objective was not to ignore the mother tongue. On the language issue, the policy formulated by former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai was being followed. Before taking a decision, the benefits that would accrue through the mother tongue and those to be yielded through English would be considered.
As for the outcome of the Vandavasi and Tiruchendur by-elections, he said his party was capable of converting even adversities to its advantage. Asked about the charge of the Opposition that the ruling party was committing irregularities in the two constituencies, Mr Karunanidhi quipped: “That’s the election tune of the Opposition.”