Stalin takes over DMK reins, dreams to ride on new track

Chennai: No other political prince in India would have waited so long for the coronation. And when it happened on Tuesday, 21 days after his father M passed away, M K sought to accept the DMK crown with humility and hope, promise and poise, prompting legions of cadres and leaders to hail: The king is dead, long live the king!
Elected unopposed as DMK president at the party‘s general council meeting, Stalin opened his acceptance speech with the admission he would not be a match for his father. In fact, he indicated he could be different from Karunanidhi. “We are not against (God) believers,” he said, signalling a willingness to steer the party beyond rationalism, for wider acceptance in changed times.

Stalin ensured his ascension had the blessings of his extended family, notwithstanding his older brother M K Alaigiri‘s whimper of protest. General secretary K Anbazhagan proposed the ascension, saying “this general council wants Kalaignar‘s son to become party president”.

I have a dream, will usher in change, says M K Stalin

No sooner had the 95-year old leader completed his speech, the gathering of 5,000 (including 2,500 general council members) burst into celebration. Fireworks rent the air outside Anna Arivalayam, the party headquarters. Workers from across the state, watching the televised ceremony, joined in.

Stalin rose to speak. “I am not Kalaignar, I can’t match his mastery over the language. But, I can dare to try. Kalaignar’s principles will guide us forever. That guiding light, along with your love and support, gives me the courage to take this up,” he said. “Kalaignar had appreciated my hard work. I continue the work till my end. The party is bigger than any individual. Our general secretary [Anbazhagan] is there to guide me.”

“I have a dream,” he continued. “A dream to usher in a change– in myself, in ourselves and in our approach to others. Being above caste, creed and lending a helping hand to the needy. We don’t believe in God. But, we respect those who believe,” Stalin said.

Shifting to politics, Stalin turned aggressive, targeting the BJP and the AIADMK. “We have to come together to prevent saffronisation of this country and throw out the spineless ruling party in the state. If needed, we can take a few steps back, only to move forward. Let us join hands to teach a lesson to the Modi government that seeks to paint the country saffron,” he said.

Stalin touched on the team spirit too. “I am not saying I will lead, you follow; let’s travel together. The seniors here are my elder brothers and sisters, juniors are my younger brothers and sisters. This is our family and this is my family,” he said.

As if delivering a message to Alagiri, he said: “None should become selfish in the race to prove who is bigger at the cost of the party’s future. We should believe in the party leadership and the leadership will reflect the aspirations of the party cadres. This is not a call to feel the breeze, but to cross the fire and we need to keep running for the welfare of Tamils,” concluded Stalin, touching upon his father’s favourite lines from the Tamil film ‘Parasakthi’.

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