CHENNAI: Shedding their bitter enmity, DMK working president Stalin and MDMK general secretary Vaiko have begun to show bonhomie in the recent months with both complimenting each other. After the Kauvery Hospital episode when Vaiko was chased away by a group of DMK men from visiting his mentor and DMK chief M Karunanidhi - allegedly at the instigation of Stalin - the relationship has witnessed a positive change. Instances of the MDMK chief hailing Stalin’s functioning as opposition leader and justifying his act of bringing banned tobacco products into the Assembly ‘to prove a charge’ are seen as indications of the thaw.
For his part, Stalin strongly condemned when Vaiko was detained at a Malaysian airport recently.
When Vaiko called on Karunanidhi last week, Stalin walked down to the entrance of the Gopalapuram residence to receive him after ages, indicating his willingness to engage. Vaiko was also invited to attend the public meeting to be held on September 5 marking the platinum jubilee of DMK mouthpiece Murasoli, for which he readily obliged.
“It’s a good sign that the relation between our leader and Stalin has begun to ease of late,” said a senior leader of MDMK. However, he added on a cautious note, “At this juncture, we cannot go beyond the atmospherics and predict the possibility of forging a lasting friendship that may extend to poll alliance.”
After winning four Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 polls in alliance with the DMK, Vaiko switched sides to join the AIADMK in the 2006 Assembly polls, much to Karunanidhi’s dismay.
Vaiko had since been a strident critic of DMK and its leadership. The 2016 Assembly polls witnessed him exchange of barbs with Stalin who described the People’s Welfare Alliance as a ‘B team’ of the AIADMK. Bitten by a worst defeat, the MDMK leader later walked out of the alliance for reasons he had refused to divulge.
Vaiko’s moves seem to be an effort to arrest the erosion of the party further as a number leaders have already shifted camps in search of better avenues. However, the DMK’s de facto chief seems to be wary of Vaiko who triggered a split in the party over his ascent and floated his own outfit in 1994.
Concerned that Vaiko might try to make use of the changing equations in the DMK in the absence of an active Karunanidhi, the party’s leadership will not take things on their face value.
According to a veteran DMK leader, “We cannot take things as they appear. We cannot let anyone take advantage.”