After the demise of Karunanidhi, succession war brews in DMK

dmk, karunanidhi

There is a huge power vacuum in Tamil Nadu after the demise of two stalwart leaders of the state- Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. In Jayalalithaa’s case, her demise was sudden with no successor, but in the case of Karunanidhi, he appointed his son Stalin as his successor by expelling his elder son MK Alagiri from the party. For many year now important affairs of DMK are being taken care by Stalin. Under the leadership of Stalin, DMK failed to open its account in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, a year later it somehow managed to win 98 seats out of 234 seats in Tamil Nadu state assembly. The DMK contested the elections in an alliance with the Congress.

Now, after the death of Karunanidhi, MK Alagiri has raised the banner of revolt. He claimed that the real cadres in the party are on his side. He also claimed that DMK would dig its own grave if it refuses to take him back in the party. Responding to his estranged brother MK Alagiri’s remark, DMK working President MK Stalin in a letter to his party-men said, “I was raised by Kalaignar; (I) will not be cowed down by (any) flutter. I will overcome any challenges being created from within and outside the party with the help of the dear supporters of Kalaignar”.

MK Stalin, in his letter also said that the incumbent central government is showing keen interest to know what is happening inside the DMK camp. He said, “The central rulers (BJP) are sowing communalism and snatching away the state’s rights. Political rivals are showing more concern than us to know what is happening in our party in the wake of Thalaivar’s (leader – Karunanidhi) loss.”

In Madurai and its adjoining districts, MK Alagiri enjoys good support, in those areas he can damage the political prospects of DMK candidates in the state assembly elections and in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. If it happens then it will further exacerbate DMK’s future in the state politics and it will also end up benefiting its political rival AIADMK. With the entry of new political players- Rajnikant and Kamal Hassan- two leading parties of the state are already facing a very tough challenge especially DMK, which is not at all in good shape. Its key leaders, former union minister A. Raja and Kanimozhi are facing an appeal against their acquittal in the 2G spectrum case.

Earlier, daughter of Karunanidhi Kanimozhi has attacked the leadership of MK Stalin in her poem when Karunanidhi was alive. Kanimozhi is a very dominant player in the party as well as in the state. In addition to her political works, Kanimozhi is also a poet. In her poem, Kanimozhi had very subtly, alluded to the pain of not taking advantage of the situation and fulfilling the political vacuum in the state. Basically, she is disappointed with the way her brother, Stalin, is leading the party. Her poem was very emotional. She made an emotional appeal through her poem to her father to come back in the politics of Tamil Nadu. One of the lines of her poem reads, “We are all pulling the chariot, but it has not moved. Before our hands get tired, lose confidence and fall, please come back.” This had been perceived as an attack on her brother Stalin who is still leading the party despite the fact that under his leadership the DMK party has suffered many failures.

So, it’s not like a clash or revolt is happening for the first time in the family. Earlier also, Maran faction of the family and Alagiri faction and others have been fighting among themselves. And now MK Alagiri has once again raised the banner of revolt. Any clash would make DMK further weaker in the state which is not a good thing for the party. This will give an advantage to other rising political players in the state. However, the biggest beneficiary of this would be AIADMK.

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Shubham Singh

21, (BA) Political Science Hons, PG Diploma in RTV, Learner.

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