Advertisement
Sunday, Oct 02, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Karunanidhi’s Long Shadow Still Looms Large Over DMK

Even after Karunanidhi’s departure in 2018, his first family, led by his son M.K. Stalin, tightened its hold on the party as more of his family members became power centres.

Karunanidhi’s Long Shadow Still Looms Large Over DMK
DMK Chief M K Stalin pays floral tribute at the memorial of late party patriarch and his father M Karunanidhi on his 95th birth anniversary, in Chennai. | PTI Photo
Karunanidhi’s Long Shadow Still Looms Large Over DMK
outlookindia.com
2020-08-07T12:56:08+05:30

As the DMK observed his second death anniversary on Friday, the long shadow of Muthuvel Karunanidhi continued to cast its spell on the party and its politics of perpetuating familial rule.

Even after Karunanidhi’s departure in 2018, his first family, led by his son M.K. Stalin, tightened its hold on the party as more of his family members became power centres. Stalin’s son, Udayanidhi Stalin, essentially a film producer and actor, got promoted as the youth wing secretary of the DMK in July 2019, thus defining the new ruling hierarchy.

The father son duo of Karunanidhi-Stalin was swiftly replaced by the new dual power centre of Stalin-Udayanidhi. The growing clout of Udayanidhi could be seen in the manner in which DMK members from his youth wing got elevated as key functionaries of the party. For example, after the demise of DMK MLA and district secretary J.Anbazhagan due to Coronavirus, Udayanidhi ensured that his loyalist Sittrarasu was appointed to the party post, ignoring the claim of much senior and sitting MLA K.K. Selvam. A miffed Selvam then went ahead and joined the BJP, causing much embarrassment to the DMK and its leadership.

The DMK’s senior leaders, who owed their raise to Karunanidhi during his long innings as party president, and readily accepted Stalin as the successor after Karunainidhi’s demise, are now uncomfortable that their future role in the party would now be decided by the much junior and inexperienced Udayanidhi. Many of them apprehend that the MLA tickets for the 2021 Assembly elections would be decided mostly by Udayanidhi and Stalin’s son-in-law, Sabareesan, and most of the candidates would be from the DMK’s youth wing. “Udayanidhi wants to have his own army of loyalists as district secretaries and MLAs so his succession would be ensured,” said a former DMK Minister.

Even Karunanidhi’s daughter and Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi finds herself sidelined by Udayanidhi, though she is much more senior in the party and has greater parliamentary experience as a Member of Parliament from 2007. Though she heads the women’s wing, Udayanidhi has been permitted to float a young women’s wing as part of the youth wing that he commands. When Kanimozhi, as the MP representing Thoothukudi, was at the forefront of the agitation against the death of Jayaraj and his son Bennicks in the custodial violence at Sattankulam, Udayanidhi drove all the way from Chennai to meet their families for a photo opportunity and just to make his presence felt.

Karunanidhi’s ideology continued to dictate the DMK’s political journey during the last two years as the party stood steadfast on the issue of social justice and the slightly outdated two language formula. The party, however, is deliberately drifting away from Karunanidhi’s anti-Hindu views as it wants to prevent Hindu consolidation against the DMK in the state. With the BJP raising its anti-Hindu pitch against the DMK and Rajinikanth’s imminent arrival with his brand of spiritual politics, the DMK might silently junk something that Karunanidhi always enjoyed – taking pot shots at Hinduism and its symbols.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement