With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi expressing his wish to retire by June next year, his son M K Stalin, regarded as the political heir apparent, on Tuesday hoped that the DMK patriarch would not quit active politics.
"My father always gives 'rest to rest' and I hope he will not retire from active politics," Stalin, the deputy chief minister, told reporters here reacting to Karunanidhi's announcement on Saturday hinting at possible retirement.
Asked whether he was ready to take over the mantle of chief ministership, Stalin evaded a direct reply saying, "You ask my father whether I am prepared and fit to take over as the chief minister."
85-year old Karunanidhi had said he would go closer to the people after some of his remaining important ambitions were fulfilled.
"I will come closer to the people, brushing aside politics and power," he had said hinting at retirement which could well make way for Stalin.
Stalin's possible elevation as chief minister received a fillip in May this year when Karunanidhi made him the deputy chief minister, entrusting the key portfolio of industry besides general administration and minority welfare, previously held by him.
Karunanidhi's health has also been a concern as he had to undergo a major spine surgery early this year, which had rendered him indisposed for some time.