After months of intense rivalry over succession, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi’s sons, Union Minister MK Alagiri and Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin, presented a rare picture of unity on Thursday.
The duo went calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to invite him for the November 18 wedding of Alagiri’s film producer son, Dayanidhi, in Madurai.
Their appearance together -— a rarity even in Chennai — is being seen as an attempt to present a united face of the DMK first family before the assembly polls, which are six months away, sources said.
Karunanidhi also wishes to signal that he is keen to “cement” ties with the Congress when a section of Congressmen and the AIADMK have been trying to fuel speculation on the alliance after Karunanidhi's exit. DMK circles have not hidden their anxiety over seat-sharing issues with the Congress.
Alagiri also met President Pratibha Patil and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to invite them for the wedding. He called on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, accompanied by ex-Union Minister TR Baalu.
DMK leaders are sure Telecom Minister A Raja’s future did not figure in any of these interactions as “such issues” are dealt at Karunanidhi’s level.
By their act of appearing together before the PM, the brothers were appearing to follow the dictates of Karunanidhi, who has insisted they bury the hatchet, at least for now.
Alagiri’s son Dayanidhi (26) got engaged to Anusha (24) in March, leaving the date of wedding to be worked out later. But the Union Minister’s decision to hold the event in November led to speculation that he might quit after the wedding to plunge into campaign in Tamil Nadu’s southern districts.
As DMK’s joint secretary in-charge of six districts, Alagiri’s responsibility is to deliver at least 80 of the 112 constituencies here. If he succeeds, Alagiri hopes to try for the leadership.