25 November, 2020

A Stalinist Rewriting

Karunanidhi makes it clear who he favours

Jitender Gupta
A Stalinist Rewriting

BETWEEN M.K. Stalin, the political heir to the DMK throne, and Kanimozhi, the cultural heir, is there any room for Union minister and Madurai strongman M.K. Azhagiri in the party hierarchy? After DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi announced that Stalin would be his successor, in the least equivocating manner that he could afford, it was on every mind: the future tumult awaiting Tamil Nadu politics. There was a latent sense of urgency. Almost as if everyone expected the two brothers’ legions to break into rioting in the streets and marketplaces of Chennai and Madurai with stones and sticks, soda bottles, machetes and firebombs. Nothing like that has happened yet, though one assumes there is always space in the script for some action.

Azhagiri’s response to the announcement of his sibling-rival’s succession was pithy: “dmk is not a religious math, where successors are anointed.” It’s a toss-back reference to something similar Karunanidhi had once said when asked about succession, taking a dig at the...



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