Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is expected to call on Congress president Sonia Gandhi soon to discuss his plans for the state polls in May 2011.
DMK circles say the meeting could turn out to be “significant” in the context of the succession “war” involving his sons.
Karunanidhi, who will turn 86 on June 3, is keen that 57-year-old Stalin, now deputy chief minister, take his place before the polls. But his elder son and Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M.K. Alagiri is opposed to the idea unless he is made party general-secretary, thus getting complete charge of the DMK.
An upset Alagiri, 59, has also been staying away from Delhi. The latest buzz in the party circles is that he wants to quit as Union minister and plunge “full time” into preparing the party for next year’s polls.
Karunanidhi had planned to meet Sonia last week when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called a conference of chief ministers over the issue of price rise. When he learnt she would be away, Karunanidhi cancelled his visit and sent Stalin for the conference, DMK officials said.
Also, a few days ago Karunanidhi’s grandnephew and textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran had met Sonia, after Alagiri went public with his desire to contest for the DMK chief’s post.
If Karunanidhi submits to Alalgiri’s pressure to let him relinquish his role at the Centre, he may ask Sonia to let his daughter Kanimozhi, 42, now a Rajya Sabha MP, fill that place.
Trouble has been brewing in the DMK since last year’s Lok Sabha elections, when Alagiri felt Stalin had hogged all the credit for the party’s success.
Though he has talked of contesting for the DMK chief’s post, Alagiri is believed to be willing to settle for something less in hierarchy but powerful with regard to controlling the party organisation.
But Stalin’s supporters say the post will be too much of a compromise because Alagiri will use it to gain control of the DMK and edge out Stalin.
Today, Stalin has an upper hand with many ministers, MLAs, MPs and district secretaries being loyal to him as they were chosen by him.