Dravidian politics: The old man and the seesaw

Incidents in the recent past show that the war of attrition between the patriarch and his protege

Published: 25th September 2016 09:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2016 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

M-Karunanidhi-&--Stalin

CHENNAI: The power struggle appears to be deepening in the DMK with the nonagenarian party chief M Karunanidhi and his son and the party treasurer MK Stalin crossing swords more often.

Dravidian.jpgCertain incidents in the recent past go on to show that the war of attrition between the patriarch and his protege has taken a turn for the worst. The growing rift between the two came to the fore when Stalin was late by about 40 minutes to a meeting at Arivalayam where his father occupied the dais last week. Indicating that he continued to hold the reins, Karunanidhi asserted that none could separate himself and DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan from the party. “We have a strong bondage. Similar is the case with the party. None can cut the chord that connects us to the party,” the old warhorse made it clear in the presence of his son.

Political observers said the DMK president was quite unhappy over the turn of things in the party in the recent days with Stalin attempting to assert his supremacy by sidelining others including Kanimozhi. As such, this was a loaded message to the DMK scion.

Dravidiana.jpgOn a few occasions earlier, he had made known his inclination to continue to strengthen and fortify the party with commitment and conviction as he had done in his formative years, upholding the ‘Tamil flag’ in his native village of Tirukuvalai. Hinting at the performance of the party in the Assembly elections, almost completely steered by Stalin, Karunanidhi said he would ‘secure victories’ for the party as he had in the past. The next day, he was reluctant to attend the district secretaries meeting held at Arivalayam. Though, it was scheduled to commence at 10.30 am, he stepped in around 12 pm, after being persuaded by Anbazhagan.

“Our leader wanted to boycott the district secretaries meeting because Stalin successfully blocked Kanimozhi from attending it. But, he obliged to Anbazhagan’s repeated calls,” a senior DMK leader said.

FAMILY FRUSTRATIONS

MK Alagiri: Frustration over succession in Karunanidhi’s family politics pushed older son Alagiri to get caught in the revolving door of the party’s lead roles. Alagiri’s sway in the DMK’s southern Tamil Nadu base has been steadily eroded by Stalin during his last poll campaign.

Kanimozhi: Karunanidhi feels she is a political lightweight and doesn’t understand Tamil politics, and hence was sent off to Delhi during UPA’s time to the DMK’s English-speaking national face. But the 2G scandal and the Radia tapes brought her growing clout down.

MK Stalin: The MLA, former Mayor of Chennai and DMK treasurer is still under his father’s thumb. Karunanidhi is aware of Stalin’s growing clout in the party. He doesn’t approve of the friendship between Stalin and Karunanidhi’s grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran either.

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