Chennai: DMK chief Karunanidhi on Thursday referred to his son and party treasurer Stalin as "the future" but the party's executive committee meet here refrained from naming the latter as chief ministerial candidate for next year's Assembly polls.
In his opening remarks at the meet, Karunanidhi, while referring to Stalin, said he is the "future of the party and Tamil Nadu," indirectly hinting that he will be the contender for the chief minister's post, a senior functionary present at the meeting told a news agency.
However, DMK at its meeting of the executive committee did not get into the issue of naming Stalin as its chief ministerial candidate, the party leader said.
Interestingly, Stalin, in an act of deference, told the meet that "it is the responsibility of all to work to make Karunanidhi the chief minister again."
Though the stage is set for Stalin to assume a larger role, the party leader said, "it was being delayed for tactical reasons."
Sewing up a "formidable alliance", strengthening party apparatus in some districts ahead of polls were among the reasons, he said, adding Stalin is likely to be named party candidate for the top post later in the year.
Expectations that Stalin will be named chief ministerial candidate for next year's assembly polls had soared as party patriarch Karunanidhi recently said, "he has no desire to become Chief Minister for the sixth time."
The DMK chief's views, expressed at a function on the eve of Stalin's birthday on March 1, fuelled expectations of the latter's supporters that their leader will be named chief ministerial candidate well ahead of the assembly polls.
The party is working hard to make a comeback after successive electoral drubbing at the hands of arch rival AIADMK, beginning with 2011 Assembly Elections.
Karunanidhi in the past had said Stalin will be his successor.
Former Union Minister and Stalin's brother MK Alagiri was expelled from the party last year and he is no more a contestant.
Stalin's way in the DMK became absolute with the election of his loyalists as district secretaries in the recent party organisational polls.
Meanwhile, in a resolution, the DMK urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena issues faced by Tamils during his visit to the island nation.