Will the ‘Rising Son’ Hold DMK Bastion Intact?

DMK working president MK Stalin - Sakshi Post

K Jayadev

The Doyen of Dravidian politics and five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Muthuvel Karunanidhi's demise has put the focus on the future of Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (DMK). The party which had a say in national politics for over five decades is now in the hands of DMK supremo's son MK Stalin. And this was announced by Karunanidhi himself around four years ago, when the family rift between two brothers--Stalin and MK Azhagiri came to the forefront.

Eventhough there was some initial resistance from a section of party cadre and supporters of Azhagiri, Stalin finally managed to gain acceptance as the working president of the party. He has slowly but steadily cemented his place in the party over the last two years. However, everything was under control as the 'big man' or DMK patriarch was around. M Karunanidhi was safeguarding the interests of the party. Now that he is no more, critics believe that there is scope and possibility for Azhagiri to come back and stake claim.

Unfortunately the successor pronounced by Karunanidhi is not a welcome person within the family. The going would not be a smooth sail as has been the case till now. Even though critics have praised Stalin for his leadership qualities after he took on the responsibility of the working president of DMK, they also say in the same breath that all was well because Karunanidhi was by his side.

Also Read: Stalin’s Emotional Farewell To Karunanidhi

It is a known fact that Karunanidhi was a relentless fighter, from taking on the mighty MGR to Jayalalithaa, he had proved his mettle many a times. But as things stand now, Stalin lacks the political acumen of his father. So far, he has shown no signs of shaping electoral politics.

The major drawback for Stalin is that he lacks the oratory skills of his father. Karunanidhi was known for his terse statements and he knew exactly how to take on his detractors. On the other hand, Stalin's remarks against Kamal Haasan, when the latter took the plunge into politics was nothing short of a foolish comment. He should have waited to see how the party shapes up and who knows it could have probably ended up as an ally to DMK.

Stalin till date has not faced any major elections all by himself. Today, he is staring at general elections within six months from now. It would be a bigger challenge for him to guide his party to victory in the coming elections. His first taste of elections was in RK Nagar bypolls held last year. This was completely handled by him, but turned out to be a disastrous show.

Also Read: Karunanidhi Demise, End Of An Era In Tamil Nadu Politics

After the death of J Jayalalithaa, RK Nagar seat was vacant. Meanwhile, a split within AIADMK leading to fielding of two candidates, everyone believed the advantage was with DMK. But they ended up in third position. Karunanidhi’s second son MK Azhagiri came out with heavy criticism, blaming his younger brother, Stalin, for the defeat. “Not just RK Nagar. The DMK will not win any polls till he is at the helm. This would not have happened if Thalaivar (referring to Karunanidhi) had been in charge," he had remarked.

Karunanidhi nurtured Stalin first as the mayor of Chennai and later inducted him into his cabinet and made him the state’s first deputy chief minister. Stalin is known for his low-key behaviour and possessed the ability to pull all the leaders into one fold. Azhagiri is considered as the DMK’s strongman controlling southern districts of the state. He is not as subtle as his younger brother.

Interestingly, DMK is the only party which has never faced leadership crisis. On similar lines, Karunanidhi had named Stalin as the successor. Moreover, Azhagiri has been out of politics after Stalin was projected as the next DMK chief. He is no more in a position to control the party and has also lost his supporters, who have over a period of time started following Stalin. Besides, Stalin has been taking all the key decisions in the party. He is now hoping that his partymen will continue to support him to clinch the top post.

Going by the events that are unfolding in Chennai, Stalin seems to have control over the party and its people. But will he be able to successfully retain the party's reputation? Is he capable of taking on the mantle given that expectations are riding high? What would happen if Azhagiri indeed comes back to snatch his position? For now, it's going to be wait and watch!

Also Read: Karunanidhi Laid To Rest At Marina; Lakhs Bid Adieu

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