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Tussle over succession in DMK
Chennai, Mar 31 (Agencies)
Published on 1 Apr. 2010 12:34 AM IST
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The DMK patriarch has a stern message for his older son. No single person can decide on the DMK’s leader, M Karunanidhi has said in response to son and Central minister MK Azhagiri’s recent statement on succession, reports NDTV news report. “A single person cannot decide DMK’s leader...Even I don’t have the right to decide. Only the party can decide the leader,” Karunanidhi said in an interview to a Tamil magazine.
Last week, Azhagiri had said he would not accept anyone as leader after Karunanidhi, in an obvious reference to younger brother and Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin. Azhagiri’s words, again in an interview to a Tamil magazine, had opened yet another chapter in the succession war between the two sons of Karunanidhi, being fought in the open since last year, when their 85-year-old father hinted at retirement.
Karunanidhi, keen to quell all talk about a sibling rivalry, also hastened to say: “There is no friction between Azhagiri and Stalin. They know that it would only hurt me” In last week’s interview, Azhagiri said there was no one who had the talent and qualification to fill his father’s place.
Asked whom he would accept as the DMK leader after Karunanidhi, Azhagiri said: “When I was 10-years-old, my leader explained to me about Dravidian culture and Periyar. At that time Periyar appeared to be the leader for me. Later Anna’s speech and writings attracted me and I accepted him as my leader. After Anna, then, now and forever Thalaivar Kalaignar alone is my leader.” He said there was no need to think of others when “Kalaignar is alive”.
And added still after Kalaignar I will not accept anyone as my leader. I don’t think there’s anyone who has the talent and qualification to fill in his place.”
Who, among Karunanidhi’s two politico sons, will inherit his legacy and lead the DMK has been the big question in Tamil Nadu for some time now.
Since early this year, and after Karunanidhi had hinted at retirement, Azhagiri and brother Stalin have tried to be very politically correct. They have ruled out their father’s retirement from politics, vowed to work together as “a double-barrel gun” to strengthen the party and repeatedly said there is no sibling war. But the strain is for all to see and best mirrorred by the efforts of their supporters.
A magazine had recently projected Stalin as the next chief minister.
Then, on Azhagiri’s birthday, posters read: Happy birthday Azhagiri, CM. The CM stood for Chemical Minister, but left few in doubt what the supporters were really alluding to.
Karunanidhi himself had given rise to much speculation when he stated that “Stalin should continue the works to be left by me and Perasiriyar (DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan).” Younger son Stalin was also elevated as Deputy Chief Minister last year.
With Stalin being projected as DMK’s heir apparent, Azhagiri is said to be unhappy at the Centre and wants to play an active role in state politics.
Karunanidhi’s interview comes on the day Azhagiri is scheduled to return to Chennai from an official tour to Australia.

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