Chennai: DMK supremo M Karunanidhi has said his son Stalin has arduously worked his way up to be the second-in-command in the party, virtually ruling out any possibility of his estranged Madurai-based son Alagiri becoming the Dravidian party's head in the future.
In an interview to a Tamil weekly, the 92-year-old patriach said Stalin has made sacrifices like going to jail during the Emergency.
To a question seeking his response to the "widespread talk and expectations that Stalin is the next DMK President", Karunanidhi recalled his son had started off at a young age by running the Gopalapuram Youth Club.
Later, Stalin was even jailed under the stringent MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) during the Emergency, Karunanidhi pointed out.
"From his prison days where he faced a lot of hardships, he has himself worked very hard and elevated himself systematically to the position of future president (of DMK). In that aspect, he remains my political heir apparent today," Karunanidhi told the Ananda Vikatan magazine.
Asked if he viewed the "absence" of Alagiri, dismissed from DMK, as a "loss", Karunanidhi indicated there was no point talking about those who were not in the party.
"One has to be happy with what is there and keep progressing, and feeling about those who are not in the party now will impede the journey," he said.
Succession issue had been a major bone of contention in the DMK's first family, involving Chennai-based Stalin and his elder brother Alagiri.
Alagiri, said to have fancied his chances of leading DMK, had once famously asked if the party was a "mutt" where the senior pontiff could anoint his successor.
The firebrand leader, who once held the powerful post of Organisation Secretary (South) in DMK and was even a cabinet Minister in UPA II, however later fell out of favour with his father and was subsequently expelled from the party in March 2014 for alleged anti-party activities.
Meanwhile, Stalin today refrained from making any comments on his father's statement.
"I have nothing to say," he told reporters when asked for his reaction to the interview.