Yet another son rises in DMK

Actor and son of DMK president MK Stalin, Udhayanidhi, who was appointed as the party's youth wing secretary, poses for photos with his father and mother Durga Stalin, in Chennai. (PTI Photo)

Another son has finally risen in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Continuing with the precedent set by his father, the late M Karunanidhi, DMK president M K Stalin on Thursday appointed his son and actor Udhayanidhi as the secretary of the powerful youth wing of the party.

Stalin had held the position of secretary of the youth wing since its inception till 2017, when he was elevated as working president of the DMK after Karunanidhi was confined to his home due to age-related illness. DMK’s youth wing was established in 1982 by then party president Karunanidhi with the sole aim of appointing Stalin as its head and firmly establishing him as his heir apparent.

The appointment is a big leap for the 41-year-old actor, who runs a production house and a film distribution firm and has never held any position in the DMK or worked for the party publicly except for his state-wide campaign in the April 18 Lok Sabha elections.

Besides his production house, he was the Managing Director of Murasoli, the newspaper launched by his grandfather 77 years ago.  

With this, Udhayanidhi becomes the seventh person from the DMK’s first family to hold posts in the party after his father Stalin, aunt Kanimozhi and uncles M K Azhagiri and Dayanidhi Maran.

Karunanidhi and Murasoli Maran, also from the family to have held positions, are no more, while Azhagiri is out of the party. Political analysts view the move as more of a succession issue within the family than Udhayanidhi as heir apparent to Stalin.

“While Women’s Wing is headed by Kanimozhi, Stalin wanted his son to be secretary of the youth wing. There is still a long way for Stalin to nominate someone as his successor because he himself hasn’t been able to hold the post of chief minister as yet,” Prof Ramu Manivannan, Head of Department of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Madras, told DH.

Manivannan added that it was “too premature” to talk about Stalin’s successor as the latter has proved his mettle only in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls. The DMK scored its first victory in eight years after its humiliating loss in 2011 Assembly polls.

Stalin’s decision to appoint his son Udhayanidhi to a key party post has renewed the criticism that the DMK was more of a “family party” than a “cadre-based party.” The decision is also a clear volte-face by Stalin, who during a televised interaction with people in 2016, made a categorical statement that none of his immediate family members would enter politics.

Though Udhayanidhi kept away from politics till about 2017, Karunanidhi’s illness changed everything. Stalin began promoting his son, much to the discomfiture of other family members in politics like Kanimozhi, who is much more popular than Udhayanidhi, and Maran.  

Of late, Stalin began justifying Udhayanidhi’s entry into politics by saying that his son was born as a DMK member and has been in politics since his childhood days.

Comments (+)