Stalin becomes 2nd DMK President amid threats from MK Alagiri

Chennai: DMK leader MK Stalin was elevated as the party President after being elected unopposed to the top post, on Tuesday.

At the party’s General Council meeting in Chennai, DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said that Stalin was elected unopposed, as he was the sole candidate who had filed nomination for the party chief’s post on August 26.

The 65-year-old leader’s elevation comes three weeks after the death of his father and party president M Karunanidhi on August 7.

This development comes amidst threats by Stalin’s elder brother and expelled DMK leader MK Alagiri that the party will have to face “consequences” if he was not re-admitted into its fold. “Kalaignar is not there now. The party has to be saved and protected,” he had said.

Stalin’s father, M Karunanidhi, was a long-standing leader of the Dravidian movement and ten-time president of the DMK.

The DMK had drawn a blank in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with the AIADMK sweeping 37 of the 39 seats. It suffered back-to-back defeats in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls in 2011 and 2016.’

From working president to party chief

  • MK Stalin took charge as the official boss of Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK, one of the state’s two main parties. Being the chosen political heir of his father and DMK president M Karunanidhi, Stalin has managed the party for more than a year while his father was ill.
  • In 2013, Karunanidhi named Stalin as his heir apparent, thus ending a long time confusion about who would take over the party reins after Karunanidhi’s death. Stalin was designated as the Working President of the DMK on 4 January 2017.
  • After M Karunanidhi’s death, the party announced an election but Stalin was the only person to file his nomination at Anna Arivalayam, the party headquarters in Chennai, on Sunday.
  • Ahead of a formal takeover by Stalin, the party’s second president, DMK headquarters celebrated the morning with black-and-red party flags and music. Senior leader and party principal secretary Duraimurugan will take the post of treasurer, previously held by Stalin.
  • Chants hailing Stalin as “Thalapathy” (Commander) rented the Kalaignar Arangam where the meeting was underway even as the General Council members cheered with loud applause.

Alagiri’s threats are ‘rhetoric’

  • Stalin’s supporters have dismissed threats by his older brother and rebel MK Alagiri as “rhetoric”. MK Stalin, a former deputy chief minister, minister and two-time Chennai mayor, was groomed by his father. Stalin had also led the campaign for the last assembly election.
  • Stalin’s gradual elevation and projection as Karunanidhi’s successor led to rebellion by Alagiri, who was expelled from DMK by Karunanidhi. Alagiri made an appearance at his father’s funeral at Marina Beach and claimed that Karunanidhi loyalists were with him. He plans to lead a peace rally to M Karunanidhi’s memorial on September 5.
  • The Alagiri-Stalin rivalry has shadowed the DMK for a long time but Karunanidhi kept a fragile peace.
  • Insiders rule out any possibility of Alagiri’s re-entry to the party. Stalin’s other big challenge is bypolls in Tamil Nadu for two seats – Tiruparangundram in Alagiri’s bastion Madurai and Tiruvarur, his father’s seat.