The family feud within the Dravida Munnetra Kajhagam (DMK) seems to be heating up again.
Throwing ample hints that he is not willing to let younger brother M.K. Stalin walk away as the successor of DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Azhagiri has told a Tamil magazine that he does not think anyone except Karunanidhi has the capacity to lead the DMK.
This is being seen as a direct challenge to Stalin, who is being seen by many as Karunanidhi’s successor, particularly since he was made deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at a time when Azhagiri was sent to Delhi to become a UPA minister.
“In hindsight, it seems that sending Azhagiri to Delhi was a strategic move to clear the field for Stalin to become Karunandhi’s successor,” Chennai-based political commentator V. Krishna Ananth told HT. “But it is clear that Azhagiri is bracing for another round of battle.”
On his son’s remarks, Karunanidhi told PTI: “I myself do not know from which year my post-retirement era starts.” Does this mean that the DMK can split, and Dravidian politics can be dominated by Jayalalitha’s AIADMK? “Even when there are political splits, one faction weakens and the other grows. So, the DMK will stay,” says Krishna Ananth. “But the Congress will have to watch these developments carefully.”
Observers say while in terms of organisational support, Stalin and Azhagiri are evenly poised, Stalin has established himself as DMK’s public face in Tamil Nadu.