DMK treasurer M K Stalin, who was named as the party Working President on Wednesday, said he accepted the new responsibility with a heavy heart in view of the health of party chief and his nonagenarian father Karunanidhi.
Stating that in the past, he had felt proud and happy when he assumed new responsibilities, he broke down while saying, “Today I’m not in such a stage (feeling happy about elevation), this is the truth.”
“In view of the health status of party chief, I accept this position with a heavy heart,” he said, adding that his work as working chief would be that of aiding the party patriarch Karunanidhi.
“Be it our president, general secretary or other senior leaders, I will follow the path shown by them and I’m ready to carry out the party activities with all your support,” he said.
“I pledge that I will function responsibly,” he added.
Stalin in his brief acceptance speech said his elevation was not a sudden development. “The matter was given ample thought, it was well discussed and consulted (among party senior leadership),” he said.
Hailing Karunanidhi as a leader “who gave rest to rest itself”, he said such a “leader needs some rest” and said Karunanidhi, who had taken ill, should now fully recover.
Delving into the circumstances surrounding his elevation, he said in view of the top leader’s health, the senior leadership after discussions decided that Karunanidhi needed rest and had “persuaded and urged” him to become working president.
“Finally, the change has been effected by way of a resolution and it has been adopted in this general council meet with your overwhelming support,” he told partymen.
Reminiscing about his decades-long political journey in the party, he said from a very young age, he grew up in a political ambiance when party workers gathered at their residence to meet his father and then party top leader Karunanidhi. “Gradually, I developed a desire, for public life,” he said.
“I took a megaphone and campaigned for the DMK in the civic polls and that was the first stage,” he said when he was still in his teens. He said he went on to found “Ilangyar Mandram” (Youth Forum) which later grew into a party youth wing.