The vehemence with which the AIADMK unsuccessfully tried to deny the final resting place to Kalaignar, among the tallest of national leaders from Tamil Nadu, only unwittingly gave the DMK and Karunanidhi’s political heir and son MK Stalin the state of Tamil Nadu on a platter. Even those neutral in Tamil Nadu politics as also the man on the street were aghast at the shameful and shocking politics played by the AIADMK government and spread a fresh wave of anger against the AIADMK and the government, whose popularity was already on the decline.
For sure, the unsuccessful move of the AIADMK to deny the burial place sought by Karunanidhi’s family members, party cadres only helped the DMK and Stalin to reinvent themselves in Tamil Nadu politics.
Stalin has, even by being silent, reinvented himself politically and more so in the last 12 days than he did in the past two years when he failed to cash in on the infighting within the ruling AIADMK.
Even when within a striking distance of power with 98 members in 234-member assembly, Stalin’s move to dislodge the Edapaddi Palanisami government through a no-confidence motion died in a whimper.
There were also murmurs of discontent over his leadership and fighting skills among regional chieftains who were flexing muscles.
“But with a foolish self-goal by Palanisami, he handed over the Tamil Nadu state to a rising DMK, especially after it has been able to reinvent itself in the last fortnight or so ever since Karunanidhi was hospitalised,” felt Prof Ramu Manivannan, a political analyst from Madras University.
If the Tamil Nadu government contents the Madras High Court order allowing burial of Karunanidhi at Marina Beach, it would be scoring more self-goals. But for a government that has scored other self-goals, what are one or two more. It would make little or no difference to the end game and result.
The reasoning behind this reading is that the AIADMK has seen a split, with a breakaway faction threatening to do more damage when the time comes.
TTV Dhinakaran, rebel AIADMK leader, is drawing huge crowd and is 24X7 on a tirade against the ruling dispensation. The AIDMK and the government too are losing the perception battle, for seemingly bowing to the central government diktats on a host of issues. Whether it was NEET or its handling of Sterlite protests, the perception is that the government was acting against the interests of the people in the state.
The DMK on the rise
It is amidst this situation that the mantle of the DMK has fallen on Stalin, who has been the longest-serving understudy to DMK party president for 40 years and his father Karunanidhi. And since the succession plan was already in place and he was virtually anointed as his political successor, Stalin does not have a challenge to his position within the party.
Moreover, in the last two years when his father was out of active politics due to illness, Stalin took a firm grip over the party apparatus and had ejected his trouble-making brother MK Alagiri out of the party.
Even after the death of Karunanidhi last evening, it is Stalin who is seen as in control with his sister Kanimozhi at his side, conveying the impression he has even the family under control.
The party is secure in his hands and the DMK is a cadre-based party. On that front, he has no problems, contrary to media speculations about the nuisance value of his elder brother Alagiri who was once a party strongman in Southern Tamil Nadu. But he has faded out and unless he is propped up by AIADMK and other anti-DMK forces he stands little or no chance to make any difference to the DMK prospects.
What Stalin will be benefitting from is both from sympathy factor following the demise of his father and due to the growing unpopularity of the AIADMK government. But he has his task cut out – if he can be magnanimous and muster political sagacity to forge alliances that will propel the DMK to power.