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Stalin, prince in waiting for years, set to take over as DMK chief today

The election of Stalin as the DMK’s second President is likely to be a smooth affair as all the 65 district secretaries of the party have proposed his name for the top post and his is the only nomination.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2018 09:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Stalin,DMK,DMK meeting
Party leaders and followers arriving at the DMK office in Chennai. (HT Photo)

MK Stalin sought the blessings of his mother Dayalu Ammal at her home in Chennai’s Gopalapuram on Tuesday morning, before setting out for his party the DMK’s headquarters Anna Arivalayam, two kilometres away.

After a meeting, he will be elected as the DMK president, a post his father M Karunanidhi held for 49 years till his death earlier this month. The path to Stalin’s elevation was paved at the party’s executive committee meeting held on August 14 where senior leaders urged the “waiting prince” to lead them by taking over the party’s mantle.

As the general council’s meeting began in Chennai, the hashtag DMKThalaivarStalin top-trended on Twitter with tweets congratulating Stalin flooding the platform.

The election of 65-year-old Stalin as the DMK’s second president is likely to be a smooth affair as all the 65 district secretaries of the party have proposed his name for the top post and his is the only nomination. He will be the second president of the party.

However, his elder brother MK Azhagiri warned on Monday that if he was not taken back into the party, then DMK would have to face “consequences”. He has also announced his plans to hold a rally in Chennai early next month to show his strength.

Azhagiri had also claimed that if he was not readmitted into the DMK, the party leaders would face a similar defeat in the upcoming Lok Sabha election like in the last Parliament and assembly polls. Azhagiri, who opposed his leadership and was later dismissed from the party by Karunanidhi for anti-party activities, may work against the DMK in the by-elections.

The former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam strongman in southern Tamil Nadu, who has been flexing muscles since the death of Karunanidhi on August 7, said the rally in Chennai was being organised as per the wishes of the cadres.

“They (cadres) only wanted me to take the lead in organising the march to pay homage (to Karunanidhi),” he told reporters. “Kalaingar (Karunanidhi) is not there now. The party has to be saved and protected. If they don’t readmit me, they will have to face consequences,” Azhagiri said.

Indicating a fresh succession war in the DMK, Azhagiri had on August 13 claimed that all “loyal” party workers were with him and accused Stalin of blocking his return to the party. Later, he sought to project himself as someone who was not interested in posts and said he had never hankered for any position in the party even when Karunanidhi was alive.

The DMK, however, has brushed aside Azhagiri’s claims and rallied behind Stalin.

“I feel Alagiri himself may contest in Tiruvarur. He may like to ride on the wave of being Karunanidhi’s own son. It is immaterial if he loses provided DMK also loses,” political analyst Raveendharan Dhuraiswamy told IANS.

He said Alagiri may not be a challenge for Stalin within the party but may pose a hurdle from outside. According to Dhuraiswamy, the poll scene in Tamil Nadu has changed to a three-corner contest between the AIADMK, DMK and AMMK led by Dinakaran.

Stalin will also be under intense scrutiny and would be compared with Karunanidhi for a long time. It may take some time and some election victories for Stalin to come out of his father’s shadows.

But whether the tenure is going to be smooth for Stalin has to be seen as he has to face the challenge of leading the party to victory in the ensuing by-elections in two assembly constituencies: Tiruvarur (fell vacant after Karunanidhi’s death) and Tiruparankundran (vacant after the death of AIADMK lawmaker AK Bose).

The DMK’s candidate in the RK Nagar by-election in Chennai lost his deposit and came a poor third after independent candidate TTV Dinakaran and AIADMK leader E Madhusudhanan.

There is also a complaint that Stalin as working president was not able to lure some of the disgruntled AIADMK legislators and come to power.

Stalin was given the role of the DMK’s working president in January 2017 after Karunanidhi was largely confined to his home due to age-related ailments. The elevation of Stalin as the party president became a necessity after Karunanidhi died earlier this month.

He will relinquish the post of treasurer and senior leader Duraimurugan is set to be elected unopposed to that post as no other nomination has been filed for that post.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 09:13 IST