By Arun Lakshman
Chennai, Dec 18 (IANS):
When C.N. Annadurai floated the DMK powered by the theory of ‘Thanthai’ Periyar, the Dravidian ideologue, the one aspect he shunned was dynasty politics.However, his colleague, M. Karunanidhi, one of the rabble-rousing scriptwriters of Tamil movies, had different thoughts and his family is now holding key positions in the DMK flaunted as a party with a difference and a party driven by ideology.
By making the third generation from the Karunanidhi family a minister in the Tamil Nadu government led by the DMK, the party has now shown that the politics of dynasty has gripped it.
The assumption of office by Chepauk MLA, Udhayanidhi Stalin is not seen as a mere swearing-in of a new minister, but as to how a political party vouching for equality and rights blatantly inducting the family members into the higher echelons of power.
Karunanidhi who wielded considerable clout in the party after the passing away of C.N. Annadurai and was de facto the party supremo controlled the party with an iron hand. He pushed out one of the best known faces of the party, the matinee idol and poster boy of Tamil cinema, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) who was a senior leader of the DMK.
Not to be left behind, MGR flouted the AIADMK and ever since the fight for hegemony in the Dravidian heartland has been between the two parties, DMK and AIADMK to gain power and only the two parties came to the helm of power in Tamil Nadu after Annadurai-led DMK trouncing the Congress party.
M. Bhaktavalsalam, who was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from October 2, 1963, to March 5, 1967, was the last Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
The family of ‘Kalaignar’ Karunanidhi has been wielding considerable clout in the party and the late Chief Minister brought in his cousin ‘Murasoli’ Maran in politics who went on to become a Union Minister and a powerful political leader of Tamil Nadu.
Maran’s son, Dayanidhi Maran continued with the legacy of Murasoli Maran and was a Union Minister and is presently a Member of Parliament.
Karunanidhi’s son, M.K. Stalin, who is the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was launched by the veteran politician in the youth wing of the party and went on to become the Mayor of Chennai. Later, he contested assembly elections and was sworn in as a minister in his father’s cabinet and went on to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Karunanidhi’s second son, Muthuvel Karunanidhi Alagiri, was a Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals during the period between May 28, 2009 to March 20, 2013 in the Manmohan Singh government of the UPA.
His sister and Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi was the next entry into politics and she went on to become a Member of Parliament. Kanimozhi is presently a Lok Sabha member and the Deputy Secretary of the DMK.
Interestingly, now Stalin brought in his son, Udhyanidhi Stalin as a minister for Youth and Sports Affairs and also in charge of programme implementation. Stalin had during the run-up to the 2021 assembly elections publicly stated that he will not accommodate his family members in the government but all that went topsy-turvy after Udhayanidhi Stalin was inducted into the cabinet.
The DMK, which has been vouching for a fierce cadre-based organisational structure, has failed miserably to contain its close relatives’ entry into the party. This has put a bad name to the DMK and the party has fallen from the higher echelons of cadre power into an ordinary political party.
G. Padmanabhan of the Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai while speaking to IANS said: “Dravidian ideology and dynasty politics won’t go together. However, politics is the art of the possible and Stalin is now slowly but certainly bringing in his son Udhayanidhi Stalin as his heir apparent and the baton of power will be handed over to the junior Stalin instead of Kanimozhi who is live in politics as party MP and also Deputy Secretary.”
The Dravidian party will have to give a lot of explanation to the politics of dynasty that it has been practicing with the family of the late ‘Kalaignar’ Karunanidhi getting plum postings and having an iron grip in party hierarchy and party structure.