Five years after a survey in Tamil Nadu suggested MK Stalin was the more popular heir to his father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi than elder brother MK Alagiri, another survey has made the same observation.
The 2007 survey by Dinakaran newspaper, owned by the Marans (Dayanidhi and Kalanithi, grandnephews of Karunanidhi), had triggered violence in Alagiri’s stronghold Madurai, but the latest survey by Tamil magazine Kumudam Reporter has not evoked any such reaction so far.
But 58% of 17,620 respondents choosing Stalin to 12% picking Alagiri has fuelled talk of a renewed turf war, especially in the context of the DMK’s general council meeting in Chennai on February 3.
S Kosalram, group editor, Kumudam, said the survey was timed to coincide with the DMK meeting, but denied any ulterior motive. “There is interest about the succession debate within the DMK. This time the interest is greater as the name of Kanimozhi (who got 3% of the votes) is also doing the rounds.”
The buzz in DMK circles is Stalin could be made working president or executive president, and Karunanidhi could anoint daughter Kanimozhi deputy general secretary.
People close to Alagiri dismissed the survey, saying Karunanidhi had made it clear he was not stepping down.
The low-key reaction is in stark contrast to 2007 (when DMK was in power), when suspected Alagiri loyalists had attacked Dinakaran offices in Madurai, resulting in the death of three persons. Later, Dayanidhi was forced out of the union ministry.