Chennai: In yet another indication of his preference for his younger son M K Stalin to be his political heir apparent, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Thursday hailed him as a `companion` in taking the party ahead on its stated ideals.
Addressing workers at a party function, the DMK patriarch said his son was instrumental in keeping many units of party together as a team.
The function was held by the supporters of Stalin, DMK Treasurer, popularly addressed as `Thalapathi` (General), turning 60 today.
"Thalapathi Stalin is one of our companions in guiding this movement which strives lofty intentions including safeguarding Tamils. (I am not saying) because he is my son, but every scars of sacrifice on his body showcase a piece of this movement`s history," he said in an apparent reference to Stalin`s arrest during the Emergency.
"Our brothers should be united and not be bothered about the differences in the party and should put priority on its well-being. I am making this plea on behalf of Stalin," the DMK patriarch said in apparent reference to inner-party bickerings involving some functionaries.
Quoting a couplet from saint-poet Thiruvalluvar`s `Thirukkural` on father-son relation, Karunanidhi said Stalin had lived up to that as he had brought laurels to him by virtue of his actions.
The 88-year-old leader said Thiruvalluvar has noted that the biggest appreciation for a man was when people laud him for his son`s virtues and activities.
Recalling his mentor E V R Periyar`s words, he said the late leader had stressed on `duty, discipline and dignity` as key. "Even if duty and discipline are destroyed, dignity should be maintained as that alone keep a movement intact."
DMK is firmly rooted and flourishing because of such sacrifices by many of the partymen, he said, adding that Stalin was instrumental in creating and leading a "small" youth-wing which he said now enjoyed the party high command`s support.
Karunanidhi`s remarks praising Stalin assume significance in the backdrop of continuing sibling rivalry between the DMK Treasurer and his elder brother and Union Minister M K Alagiri.
He had recently indicated Stalin could well carry the mantle after him which was rebuked by Alagiri, who shot back saying the DMK was not a `mutt` where a pontiff could nominate his successor.