Karunanidhi is DMK Chief Again, Son Stalin Wants to 'Leap 32 Feet'

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Karunanidhi is DMK Chief Again, Son Stalin Wants to 'Leap 32 Feet'

FILE photo: DMK chief M Karunanidhi

Chennai:  M Karunanidhi, age 92, has been elected by his party, the DMK, as its chief for a 12th term. His son, MK Stalin, will return for a second term as Treasurer, which keeps him at No 3 in the DMK's hierarchy. Mr Karunanidhi's daughter, M Kanimozhi, has been appointed Secretary of the Women's Wing.

Mr Stalin had earlier this week dismissed reports that he was privately upset about his father's decision to serve as party president again - each term lasts four years.

As other leaders from the DMK praised him today as a tiger cub who can leap 16 feet further than his father, Mr Stalin responded, "I can only bring honour to my father if I leap 32 feet."

Mr Stalin was publicly chosen by Mr Karunanidhi as his political heir in 2013, but the last mile - to the party's top post - appears to be a no-go zone for him.

The conferral of next-in-line status upon Mr Stalin, age 61, infuriated his older brother, MK Alagiri, whose resentment played out in a series of revolts against the party and led to his expulsion last year.

Mr Alagiri has however not yet formed his own party, despite threatening to do so, encouraging talk of a strong interest in a reconciliation with the party pivoted around his family.

The feud within the first family of the DMK climaxed as the party's political fortunes were crashing. In 2011, it lost the state election to rival J Jayalalithaa. Earlier in the same year, Mr Karunanidhi pulled the party out of the coalition government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, alleging that India was not being severe enough with the Sri Lankan government about its alleged atrocities against the island's ethnic Tamils.

In the national election in May last year, the DMK did not win a single parliamentary seat.


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