Amid challenge from brother Alagiri, Stalin takes over the reins of DMK

DMK working president MK Stalin. Photo: PTI
Even as a contest for control of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) continues between the two sons of the deceased party leader M Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu’s main opposition outfit’s prince-in-waiting, M K Stalin, has been anointed the president of the party.

Stalin, 65, the third son of Karunanidhi, took over the position at a General Council meeting held on Tuesday in Chennai. This was despite protests from former Union Minister M K Alagiri, Stalin’s elder brother who had been ousted from the party earlier by Karunanidhi.

Stalin has been the DMK’s working president and treasurer for several years now and Karunanidhi had identified him as his successor when he was alive. Stalin has been leading the party ever since his father went out of action due to health reasons related to age since 2017.

On Tuesday, DMK’s General Council elected Stalin as the president after all the 65 district secretaries of the party proposed his name for the top post and nobody else filed a nomination.

Stalin will relinquish the post of treasurer, which senior leader M Duraimurugan will take. Duraimurugan was also elected unopposed to the post, considered one of the powerful. Earlier, the post of the treasurer was held by some of the big names, including M G Ramachandran and Karunanidhi, who went on to become chief ministers of the state.

The ascension of Stalin had been expected to be a smooth affair even before the election, as the party’s Executive Committee meeting on August 14 had seen senior leaders urging the ‘waiting prince’ to take over the party’s mantle and lead them.

But whether the tenure for Stalin is going to be smooth has to be seen. He has to face the challenge of leading the party to victory in the coming byelections to two Assembly constituencies. 

It may be noted that DMK’s candidate in the RK Nagar byelection had lost his deposit and come a poor third, behind independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran and AIADMK leader E Madhusudhanan.

Alagiri has been alleging that Stalin has not been able to take the party to success in the recent past. Alagiri, who opposed Stalin's leadership and later dismissed from the party by Karunanidhi for alleged anti-party activities, will be working against the DMK in the byelections.

Alagiri has announced his plans to hold a rally in Chennai early next month to show his strength.

Stalin's political journey

* 1968: Joins DMK's youth wing
* 1971: Becomes district president
* 1973: Becomes General Council member
* 1976: Is arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA)
* 1989: Becomes an MLA for the first time
* 1996: Becomes a mayor
* 2003: Becomes deputy general secretary of DMK
* 2006: Becomes a Cabinet minister
* 2009: Becomes deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu
* 2016: Becomes leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly
* 2017: Is named DMK’s working president
* 2018: Elected the DMK president unopposed


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