In DMK, now its Stalin Era; Faces challenge to come out of Fathers Shadow

MK Stalin, son of former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, is all set to be elected the DMK president on Tuesday. His final ‘coronation’ is expected to be announced formally at the party headquarters during the DMK’s general council meet on Tuesday.

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

He will be the second president of the party, a post which was held by his father for 49 years.

Stalin was given the role of working president in January 2017 after Karunanidhi was largely confined to his home due to age-related ailments.

Stalin’s elevation became a necessity after Karunanidhi passed away early this month and he will relinquish the post of treasurer and senior leader Duraimurugan is set to be elected unopposed to that post.

The path to the ascension of throne by 65-year-old Stalin was paved at the party’s executive committee meeting held on August 14 where senior leaders one after another urged him to lead them by taking over the party’s mantle.

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 coming 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 recently lost his deposit and came a poor third after independent candidate T T V Dhinakaran and AIADMK leader E Madhusudhanan.

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

Alagiri has announced his plans to hold a rally in Chennai early next month to show his strength. On Monday, he warned that if he was not taken back into the party, then DMK would have to face ‘consequences’.

The Alagiri-Stalin rivalry has plagued the DMK for a long time but Karunanidhi kept a fragile peace.

“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 among the AIADMK, DMK and AMMK led by Dhinakaran.

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

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