The youth wing of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has chosen Madurai as the venue this year for felicitating 1,535 students who scored the first three places in the State as well as at the district level in the recently held Plus Two examinations.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, DMK’s Madurai (urban) district secretary K. Thalapathy said that the party’s treasurer and former Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin would felicitate the students at Raja Muthiah Mandram on Saturday.

He said elaborate arrangements had been made to provide boarding and lodging facilities to the students, their parents and relatives at 12 marriage halls in the city. The party expected that at least 98 per cent of the students from all 32 districts would participate.

While the State first rank holders would be given a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 each, all second and third rank holders would get Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 15,000 respectively.

The cash award for those who had secured first three places at district level would be Rs.15,000, Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 5,000 respectively.

The party had allocated a total of Rs. 1.03 crore for the purpose.

“Similar felicitations had taken place in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Salem in the previous years. This is the first time that Madurai has been selected as the venue for the function,” Mr. Thalapathy said.

Denying allegations of a political motive behind the conduct of the felicitation function, former Minister Pon. Muthuramalingam said that it was one of the many social initiatives of the party. “DMK has always been in the forefront when it came to empowering the masses through education,” he said.

Asked if the party’s Southern Region Organising Secretary M.K. Alagiri would participate in the function, Mr. Thalapathy said that an invitation had already been extended to him.

“I hope that he would definitely attend the function,” the district secretary said.

Mr. Alagiri, also a Member of Parliament representing Madurai, had boycotted a function organised by Madurai (rural) district unit on June 5 to handover election funds to Mr. Stalin.

Apart from the function to felicitate students, Mr. Stalin is also slated to take part in another function on Sunday that of receiving election funds from Madurai (urban) unit of the party.