Chennai, Jan 3 (IANS) DMK president M. Karunanidhi Thursday said his second son, M.K. Stalin, would be the party's torchbearer after him to fight for the upliftment of Dalits.
"I will work till my death for the upliftment of the Dalit community. After my lifetime, it will be Stalin whom you should not forget," Karunanidhi said at a function in which over 2,000 Dalit members of PMK joined the DMK.
While some interpret the statement as Karunanidhi's preference for Stalin as his successor than his other son, M.K. Alagiri, political commentators dismiss the announcement as a diversionary tactic by the DMK leader.
Karunanidhi also said that he was the father-in-law of a Dalit woman since his elder son and union minister Alagiri's wife Gandhi belonged to that community.
The DMK chief said there was no measure of his happiness when Gandhi called his wife "aththai" (aunt).
Reacting to media's interpretation that Karunanidhi prefers Stalin over Alagiri as his successor, political commentator Gnani told IANS: "The succession issue in DMK is a settled one. And it is a non-issue. It is well-settled that Stalin will be the successor to Karunanidhi."
Gnani said when the DMK was in power in the state, Alagiri was not given any ministerial position whereas Stalin was made the deputy chief minister.
Gnani said Karunanidhi was trying to divert the media's attention from AIADMK general secretary and chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's recent announcement of going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Jayalalithaa blamed the Congress and the BJP for Tamil Nadu not getting its due share of Cauvery river waters. Karunanidhi has not replied to Jayalalithaa's charge that the two national parties are blocking the Cauvery river waters," Gnani said.
It is usual for members of political parties to switch loyalties in large numbers in Tamil Nadu.
Last month, around 250 MDMK activists joined the ruling AIADMK. Early last year, several members of DMDK joined AIADMK.