MK Stalin elected DMK Legislature Party Leader; set to become LOP

MK Stalin, considered Karunanidhi's political heir apparent, will be leading a strong DMK contingent.

Chennai: All set to take over as the Leader of the Opposition in the 15th Tamil Nadu Assembly, DMK scion MK Stalin on Tuesday vowed to do justice to the post and take up people's issues in a constructive way in the legislature.

63-year-old Stalin, son of party patriarch M Karunanidhi, was unanimously elected as its Legislature Party leader by the DMK MLAs today, marking his ascent towards the key Opposition Leader status for the first time in his political career.

Stalin's election as party's floor leader came at a meeting attended by all 89 DMK MLAs, including Karunanidhi, who won from his native Thiruvarur constituency for a second term by a record margin of over 68,000 votes.

DMK is the single largest opposition party with 89 MLAs and by virtue of being elected its Floor Leader, Stalin qualifies to be the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, a post the party has wrested now after DMDK headed by actor-turned politician Vijayakant grabbed it in 2011.

Stalin thanked Karunanidhi and the party MLAs for electing him as their leader.

"As an Opposition Leader, I will work efficiently. I will discuss people's issues in a constructive manner in the House and strive to uphold Assembly democracy," he said on his Facebook page.

Stalin, considered Karunanidhi's political heir apparent, will be leading a strong DMK contingent with allies Congress (8) and IUML (1) to support him in the opposition benches.

At today's meeting, senior leader Durai Murugan was elected Deputy Leader of DMK Legislature wing while R Sakkarapani the party's Whip.

Although DMK had fancied winning the May 16 polls with exit polls favouring it, the party fell short as AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa led her party to a 'historic' successive term, winning 134 of the 232 seats.

However, DMK has emerged a stronger opposition this time, almost scoring four times of the 23 MLAs that it got in the 2011 elections when it was trounced by AIADMK and relegated to the third place behind DMDK.

Stalin was DMK Floor Leader in the previous Assembly too.

A sixth time MLA, Stalin made his Assembly debut in 1989 and rose in the party ranks to lead the Youth Wing besides later being elevated as Treasurer.  

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