Chennai: MK Stalin, forever considered the DMK’s prince-in-waiting, is all set to be crowned the king. The much awaited coronation, set to happen in a few days, has not come easy for him.
Though he had entered politics as a school boy forming a small group in Chennai’s Gopalapuram that would metamorphose into the DMK youth wing some years later, each time he ascended the political ladder, it was viewed as an inheritance than a rightfully earned reward. For he was the son of M Karunanidhi, the charismatic DMK patriarch, who remained active in politics even while being confined to the wheel chair during old age.
Karunanidhi himself did not want to be seen promoting Stalin, who was catapulted into the thick of politics during the Emergency when he was detained under the draconian Maintenance of Internal Securities Act. Then in his early 20s, Stalin was dragged out of his house in front of Karunanidhi’s eyes, a day after the DMK Government was dismissed, even as his pregnant wife was in tears.
In jail, he was thrashed by the police, as an impact of which he was left with a dislocated lip lower lip. “Had former Mayor Chittibabu not died saving him from the lathis of prison officials, Stalin would not been alive today to head the State,” recalled a DMK veteran.
Karunanidhi was conscious enough not to be seen as unduly promoting his son in the party. It was only in 1984 that he fielded him in an Assembly election, which Stalin lost. Five years later he entered the Assembly.
However, he had to wait till 1996 for an independent role when he was elected Chennai Mayor. His performance won him laurels. It was during his time as Mayor, many flyovers were built in Chennai.
In 2006 when the DMK returned to power, Stalin was made Local Administration Minister where again he emerged as a man of action. Over a period, Karunanidhi appointed him Deputy Chief Minister. In the party too, he grew from being the youth wing leader to treasurer.
Only when Karunanidhi lost partial memory in 2017, did Stalin ascend further to become the party’s working president. A year later after his father’s death he assumed charge as party president and led the DMK to one of its biggest wins in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. His campaign calling Narendra Modi a “fascist” led to the BJP’s drubbing in Tamil Nadu. And now he has led the DMK to power after a decade.