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DMK’s newly elected president M.K. Stalin (right) with party treasurer Duraimurugan in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
DMK’s newly elected president M.K. Stalin (right) with party treasurer Duraimurugan in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Stalin unanimously elected DMK president

Senior leader and principal secretary Duraimurgan elected as the new treasurer of the DMK

Chennai: M.K. Stalin, who was unanimously elected president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) by the general council of Tamil Nadu’s opposition party, on Tuesday declared war on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government and the ruling party in the state.

“Come, let’s join together and teach a lesson to the (Narendra) Modi government that is saffronizing the country." the 65-year leader and son of late DMK chief M. Karunanidhi told party workers. The Edappadi K. Palaniswami-led “state government that is spineless, should be thrown out," he added.

“I pledge to protect, cherish and advance the four founding principles of our party: self-respect, social justice, rationalism and secularism," Stalin said while take charge, adding that he will work to protect the Tamil language, identity and party.

Earlier, cadres erupted in jubilation at the headquarters of the 69-year-old southern party, bursting crackers and raising slogans in praise of Stalin as DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan announced the election,

Senior leader and principal secretary Duraimurgan was elected the party’s treasurer, a powerful position that had been held by Stalin since 2008, and before him by Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran, Sadiq Basha and Arcot N. Veerasamy.

Stalin, the thalapathy (Tamil for commander) who was elevated as thaliavar (leader) on Tuesday, has held key positions such as secretary of the DMK’s youth wing, deputy general secretary of DMK, first elected mayor of Chennai Corporation and deputy chief minister in the DMK government in 2006-11.

The 2016 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu saw Stalin take complete control of the party. His extensive year-long “Nammakku Namme" (We for Us) campaign, ahead of the election, established him as the next face of the DMK.

The party lost to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), but the DMK alliance with 98 seats in the 234-member assembly emerged as the largest ever opposition in Tamil Nadu with just a 1.1% vote share difference and Stalin was made the leader of the opposition.

The previous general council of the DMK was held in January 2017, in which Stalin took over as working president after Karunanidhi’s deteriorating health kept him away from party affairs.

Karunanidhi, who held the post of party president for 50 years, died on 7 August.

Various leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, greeted Stalin on his election as the DMK president.

After taking over, Stalin and Duraimurugan paid their respects at the memorials of C.N. Annadurai and Karunanidhi at Marina and visited Periyar E.V. Ramasamy’s memorial at Periyar Thidal.

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