Tamil Nadu

Waiting in the wings

From youth wing secretary to treasurer of the DMK, M.K. Stalin has come a long way. Today in the DMK, nothing moves without his nod.

He decides who the district secretaries are, and all the 65 secretaries are his men. Even DMK president and his father M. Karunanidhi has understood his grip over the organisation and declared twice that he would be his successor. He went one step further on Mr. Stalin’s 63rd birthday and declared that he had no desire to become Chief Minister for a sixth time. Yet, Mr. Stalin’s supporters wonder what stops Mr. Karunanidhi from formally announcing him as the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the next election.

“Our leader knows the ground reality. But he also knows that his own importance in the party will be at stake if he goes ahead and declares Mr. Stalin’s candidature. Moreover, he feels that he still can play a vital role in knitting together an alliance, an important factor, for winning the Assembly elections in 2016,” said a former Minister.

Many second-level DMK leaders are of the opinion that nothing can prevent Mr. Stalin from walking away with the post of Chief Minister in the event of the DMK winning the elections. “He has already been the Deputy Chief Minister during the previous regime, and the top post is just one rung away,” said another Minister.

Even though Mr. Stalin is fully aware of his standing and nurtures ambitions, he defers to his father on political decisions and continues to maintain that Mr. Karunanidhi would be Chief Minister once again. “Unlike his elder brother, M.K. Alagiri, and contender for power in the organisation, Mr. Stalin has been sober and cautious in his public utterances. If Kalaignar invokes the name of Anna, the DMK founder, to remind the cadre that he was his mentor’s choice to lead the party, Mr Stalin invokes his father’s name in the same manner,” explained a senior leader of the party.

 After Mr. Alagiri was removed, Mr. Stalin faces hardly any opposition in the party. His half-sister and party MP Kanimozhi has reconciled herself to the role of being the party’s face in New Delhi, replacing Dayanidhi Maran, who has been sidelined and left with no following to challenge the leadership.

There is another view of Mr. Karunanidhi’s February 28 statement. As he had said that his aim was to protect the organisation till the very last worker was in it, it appears that he intends to remain the party’s leader, even if he was not keen on the CM’s post anymore. To that extent, he may want the organisation to retain its present hierarchy for some more time.

For long, DMK youth wing leader M.K.Stalin has been touted as the heir apparent. The latest remarks by his father reinforce him clarin, and come at a time when he is in near-total control

Stalin: Leader in all but name
Chief Minister candidate

On his 62nd birthday, Stalin gets news that his father doesn’t want to be CM again.

DMK party control

With his own men as district secretaries, he controls the party


Absence of competition within the DMK’s first family and support of second line leaders work in his favour

Party support

Party general secretary K. Anbazhagan has also been favouring Stalin over others


Recently mollified leaders by offering them positions in the party

Alliance leaders

Alliance leaders may not accept him as CM candidate ahead of 2016 Assembly elections.

K. Kanimozi

Not even a competitor. Has replaced Dayanidhi Maran as DMK’s pointsman in Delhi

Dayanidhi Maran

Out of the limelight. Enjoys no support base in the party at any level as of now


Suspended. Once a powerful organiser in southern districts, he is nowhere at present.

Stalin's steady rise over four decades

  • 1967

    M.K.Stalin’s political career began as a 14-year-old school student. He campaigned for DMK in the 1967 elections.

  • 1976

    He was 23 years old when he was arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) on 31st January, 1976

  • 1984

    Was appointed secretary of the youth wing

  • 1989

    Elected as an MLA for the first time in 1989 from Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai. Won again in 1996, 2001 and 2006

  • 1996

    M.K.Stalin was the first directly-elected Mayor

  • 2001

    He was re-elected as Mayor in 2001

  • 2003

    Elected as Deputy General Secretary

  • 2006

    Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development

  • 2008

    Elected as party treasurer

  • 2009

    Appointed as Deputy Chief Minister

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 9:38:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stalin-is-the-cm-candidate-from-dmk/article6957912.ece

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