With DMK back in power after a decade, MK Stalin reclaims the Kalaignar legacy
Under the leadership of Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, son of late DMK supremo Karunanidhi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has swept back to power in Tamil Nadu after a decade. The DMK’s win is being seen as Stalin reclaiming the legacy of Kalaignar. DMK President MK Stalin, who is affectionately called “Thalaivar” by his party cadres, was administered the oath by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at Raj Bhavan here today.
Stalin is the second son of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi with his second wife, Dayalu Ammal. Born four days after the death of the Soviet communist leader, Stalin was named after Joseph Stalin. He was groomed from an early age by Karunanidhi as his successor and heir. Sixty-eight-year-old Stalin contested as the chief ministerial candidate for the first time during the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. Known as a tireless worker, Stalin began his political journey during the 1967 Assembly elections in Madras state by campaigning for his father’s party when he was a lad of 14.
However, during his early political career, Stalin was not considered a serious politician. Things changed when he was jailed for six months during Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). He was elected unopposed as the DMK chief in August 2018, after the death of his father, a post that Karunanidhi held for 49 years.
Under Stalin’s leadership, DMK, which is out of power since 2011 in the state, gave a head-to-head fight to the ruling party AIADMK and won 133 seats on its own in the 234-member Assembly.
Stalin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Presidency College in Chennai. He is credited for forming the youth wing of DMK and headed it for more than four decades. He became the first directly elected mayor of Chennai from 1996 to 2001. He was also elected legislator from the Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai in 1989, 1996, 2001 and 2006.
In 2011, he was elected to the Assembly from the Kolathur constituency in Chennai. He served as the Local Administration and Rural Development Minister in his father Karunanidhi’s Cabinet from 2006 to 2011. He also held the charge of Deputy Chief Minister from 2009-2011. In 2016 he again won the Assembly election from the Kolathur constituency and held the charge of the leader of opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
In Tamil Nadu, the people have traditionally seen the DMK and the AIADMK hold power alternately since 1967. However, AIADMK emerged victorious in the last two Assembly elections. During this election, ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) contested the poll in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).
On the other hand, Stalin-led DMK allotted 25 seats to its Congress party, and six each for CPI, CPI (M), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), who contested polls in alliance with him.
With a third consecutive win in Kolathur where he contested opposite AIADMK’s Adhi Rajaram, Stalin continues his grip on the constituency since it was carved out in 2011. He won the seat by 105522 votes. The high-octane poll was held in a single phase on April 6.