CHENNAI: Till DMK president M. Karunanidhi met Governor S.S. Barnala and sent in the list of Ministers to be sworn in, it was not sure whether his son and party deputy general secretary M.K. Stalin would make it to the Cabinet.
Apparently, there was some pressure that he could be inducted later to avoid any fallout from the charge of "family politics" hurled at the DMK. But his hard work in the past few years and tireless campaign in the elections must have won him a berth in the Cabinet.
On Saturday, Mr. Stalin was not only sworn in, but was also installed at the Secretariat in the Ministers' chambers. At hand to felicitate him were Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan and Power Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy, who are senior to Mr. Stalin in the ministerial protocol.
Surprisingly, Mr. Stalin has got the Local Administration portfolio. Why? "There is so much to be done in the local bodies. It was the DMK that started the process of empowering the local bodies, and Mr. Stalin wants to push ahead with that exercise," reasons one of his lieutenants. Also, do not forget that he was removed from the office of Chennai Mayor after getting elected for a second term, which was not permissible under the law. So, he becomes the Minister in charge of all civic and local bodies.
Mr. Stalin's has been a slow but steady rise in politics. Born in 1953, he was first elected a legislator in 1989 from Thousand Lights, where he won again in 1996, 2001 and in 2006. Though a resident of Velachery, he continues to represent Thousand Lights, under which comes Gopalapuram, where his father resides. Now that he is a Minister, his performance, both in the Assembly and in office, will come under the scanner. Considered the heir apparent, Mr. Stalin will be watched carefully.