DMK’s Stalin appoints son as youth wing chief that he had held for 3 decades
Tamil Nadu’s major opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) has elevated party president MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin, 41, who is also a Tamil film producer and actor, as the new youth wing secretary.
The post of the youth wing secretary of the DMK is crucial in the party’s hierarchy as it was held by Stalin for more than three decades since the early 80s.
Udhayanidhi’s elevation as the party youth wing secretary, comes hours after Janata Dal Secular in Karnataka appointed Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil as the party’s youth wing chief.
“The party is relieving MP Swaminathan from DMK youth wing secretary post. The high command has decided to appoint Udhayanidhi Stalin as the new youth wing secretary of DMK under sections 18 and 19 of the party bylaws. The existing office bearers should co-operate with the newly appointed youth wing secretary,” party’s general secretary K Anbazhagan said in a statement which was released to the media.
Hours after Udhayanidhi was appointed to the new post, the outgoing youth wing secretary Swaminathan was elected as a member of the party’s high-level committee which is a key decision-making body.
Udhayanidhi prospects for elevation as the head of the party’s youth wing had brightened after the DMK-led alliance’s huge success in the Lok Sabah polls in Tamil Nadu where it won 37 of the 38 seats in the state as he had extensively campaigned during the polls.
Udhayanidhi who has acted in and produced several Tamil movies entered full-time politics only in 2016, despite being in the party for a long time. Udhayanidhi is currently the Managing Director of DMK’s Murasoli Trust.
Reacting to the elevation, veteran DMK leader and party treasurer S Duraimurugan has said that Udhayanidhi has all the capabilities to perform as party youth wing secretary. “The announcement on Udhayanidhi’s elevation is good for the party. Not only me, but the rank and file of the party are also happy at the elevation. People had given him a rousing reception in all the places where he campaigned during the recent Lok Sabha polls. Since he is an actor, he has his own pull too in Tamil Nadu. He will come out of the shadow of being Stalin’s son,” Duraimurugan told the media.
After the party registered a landmark victory in the recent polls, all the district units of DMK had passed resolutions demanding the party high-command to elevate Udhayanidhi as the new youth wing secretary, in what was seen as a orchestrated move.
Former union minister and DMK’s principal secretary TR Baalu was one of the first leaders to raise this demand in the first week of June.
“Udhayanidhi is the future of the party. He will stamp his imprint in a decisive manner,” the DMK leader had said at a public event in Chennai last week.
Another leader, Ma Subramanian, Chennai South district secretary and DMK’s Chennai Saidapet MLA also said Udayanidhi had all the qualities to occupy the youth wing secretary post.
“Udhayanidhi is not a new member of the DMK. He is in DMK since his birth. Especially, during the LS polls, he proved his mettle by attracting large crowds. Wherever he has gone in Tamil Nadu to campaign, men and women have thronged to hear him speak. So, it was the right time for giving a top party post,” the DMK legislator said.
DMK President MK Stalin held the youth wing secretary’s post from its formal formation in 1984 to 2016. Only after he was elected as the party’s working president when his father and DMK patriarch Karunanidhi fell ill, he resigned the youth wing post at the age of 63. Subsequently, DMK appointed former minister M P Swaminathan as the youth wing secretary after Stalin.
The AIADMK slammed DMK’s move of elevating Udhayanidhi by saying this was completely against Dravidian principles laid down by Periyar EV Ramasamy.
“Even as there are various senior leaders and heavyweights, DMK supremo is dragging his son into the party now. We are seeing many senior most DMK leaders are saluting Udhayanidhi. These are absolutely anti-Dravidian principles. AIADMK is the only party where a common man could become CM,” said TN textiles and handlooms minister and veteran AIADMK leader OS Manian.
According to analysts, the move of DMK is an attempt by Stalin to ensure smooth sailing and possibly eventual succession for Udhayanidhi’s political future.
“The dynastic politics is an accepted norm in DMK. So, Udhayanidhi’s promotion will not make any difference. As a 70-year-old party, several of DMK’s office bearers are sons and grandsons of its previous leaders. So, Stalin wants to bring his son into the party and thus it is not a surprise,” said Tharaasu Shyaam, a senior journalist and political analyst.
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