Tirunelveli, Dec 15: The two-day first ever state-level Youth Wing Conference of the ruling DMK began here today with much fanfare, amid speculations of a transition in the party leadership.
The Conference might set the stage for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi to name his younger son and local Administration Minister M K Stalin as his political successor. New entrant to politics Tamizhachi Thangapandiyan, poet-daughter of senior DMK leader Thangapandiyan, hoisted the party flag at Palayamkottai Medical College Ground, the conference venue, in the presence of Mr Karunanidhi, Mr Stalin and other senior party leaders.
An estimated three lakh party workers congregated in the city from various parts of the state to take part in the conference.
Mr Karunanidhi, who arrived here this morning, would witness a procession from a specially designed dais that resembled the famous Tiruvarur temple car, later in the afternoon.
The procession would commence from V O C Ground and culminate at the Conference venue.
An unprecedented security blanket was thrown over the city, with the state police deploying over 6,500 policemen, including Swift Action Force (SAF), Tamil Nadu Special Police and armed police, under the direct supervision of Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Vijayakumar.
It was for the first time in DMK's 59-year-old history that the party high command permitted a party wing to stage a conference.
Earlier, Mr Karunanidhi was given a rousing welcome at the Tirunelveli Railway Junction by the partymen. The Chief Minister, who arrived here by Ananthapuri Express from Chennai, was received by Mr Stalin, Tirunelveli District in-charge of party affairs Karuppaiah Pandiyan, Cabinet Ministers and other senior party leaders.
Hundreds of DMK volunteers assembled in front of the railway station to receive their leader.