With the call for clean politics getting louder with every passing day, one would expect political parties to tailor their decisions keeping this in mind. However, the DMK, under the leadership of its president M Karunanidhi and MK Stalin, has chosen to ignore such signals.
The party released a list of 35 candidates it wishes to field in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, and its decision to field A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, both former telecom ministers under the scanner for their alleged role in the telecom scams, shows that the DMK is not in tune with the public mood in the country.
At a time when the people, especially the youth, are demanding accountability and transparency from political parties and when the judiciary is taking steps to keep tainted politicians away from fray, the move to field Mr Raja and Mr Maran could backfire on the party. On expected lines, MK Alagiri, Mr Stalin’s elder brother who was earlier suspended from the party on disciplinary grounds, was not given a ticket.
Of the many inferences that can be derived from the DMK’s list of candidates, the most evident is Mr Stalin’s stamp of authority on the selection. The majority of the candidates are Stalin loyalists, while Alagiri loyalists, like former minister D Napoleon, have been denied a ticket.
Mr Stalin has closed the door on his brother’s chances of returning to the party and contesting the polls by announcing the candidature of V Velusamy, a Stalin loyalist, from the Madurai constituency — Mr Alagiri is the sitting MP for Madurai. Caught in infighting, the party seems oblivious of the changing reality in Tamil Nadu. The ruling Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK is showing no signs of fatigue and Vijayakanth’s DMDK is gaining momentum, especially after its alliance with the BJP. Rather than focusing on important issues the DMK is washing its dirty linen in public.
Whatever be the verdict on May 16, one thing is clear: The DMK, today, is a far cry from a party that was founded on social goals. The Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), born out of the Neethi Katchi in 1944, was the DMK’s parent organisation formed to protect the interests of the Dravidian people. It aimed at social reform and ending upper-caste dominance.
The DMK, which was formed in 1949 because of personal differences between its founder CN Annadurai and DK leader Periyar EV Ramaswamy Naicker, continued the DK’s mission of safeguarding the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu. It is unfortunate that what started as a social revolution and later metamorphosed into a political movement is today reduced to an arena for political fratricide.