The 18-month-long stand-off between the UPA constituent DMK’s first family and the Maran brothers – Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi, who own the Sun TV Network – took a dramatic turn this evening as both families smoked the peace pipe at a get-together at party patriarch Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence here.
Till now, it seemed that a rapprochement was impossible, as Karunanidhi publicly lambasted the Marans for their “perceived manipulations and misdeeds” and the brothers hit back.
The feud between the two families intensified in May 2007 after the Maran family-owned Tamil Daily Dinakaran published a popularity rating on Karunanidhi’s possible successors, giving poor ratings to his eldest son, M.K. Azhagiri, and his poetess daughter, Kanimozhi, promoting the patriarch’s second son and then local administration minister M. K. Stalin.
This led to a violent attack, allegedly by Azhagiri’s supporters, on the Dinakaran offices in Madurai and eventually to DMK’s demand for the resignation of Dayanidhi Maran, then Union Telecom and IT Minister. Kanimozhi was being groomed to be the party’s new face in Delhi, as she had been elected to the Rajya Sabha.
But all this changed this evening, when both Kalanidhi Maran, managing director of Sun TV Network, and Dayanidhi smilingly shook hands with Karunanidhi’s family. Almost everyone who matters in the family, including Azhagiri, Stalin, their brothers and sister Selvi, was present.
Only Kanimozhi was not present, as she was at the Chennai airport to see off the MPs leaving to meet the Prime Minister Manmohan on the Lankan issue tomorrow.
“I’m extremely happy,” Karunanidhi told reporters, though he refused to share details of the peace deal. He said the man responsible for the reunion was Azhagiri, backed by Stalin. Though Karunanidhi did not say anything specific about Dayanidhi’s return to politics, he indicated that he would also be part of the delegation to meet the PM on December 4.
The Congress wanted the DMK, its key ally, to resolve intra-party squabbles and differences with the PMK.