On Karunanidhi’s birthday, Stalin seeks the limelight

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018

Leader in the making? A file photo of DMK Working President MK Stalin with his father and party chiefMKarunanidhi

Opposition parties are expected to converge at the veteran’s fete in Chennai on Saturday

For the DMK, any occasion is good enough to organise a bash. What can be bigger than its President M Karunanidhi’s birthday? Moreover, it was 60 years ago that Karunanidhi first got elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

The political situation in Tamil Nadu continues to be fluid and the DMK would like to flex its muscles to show that it is waiting in the wings for the Edappadi K Palaniswami government to fall under the weight of its own contradictions.

The recent notification by the Centre regulating sale of cattle at markets has also come in handy for the DMK to make Karunanidhi’s birthday bash – the grand old man of Tamil Nadu politics completes 93 years on Saturday – a big event where leaders of major political parties, including Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, are slated to participate in a public meeting in Chennai.

Karunanidhi himself has been away from the public eye for a few months, after he fell ill and was hospitalised. But that is no deterrent for his party to organise the meeting, where Karunanidhi’s son and the DMK’s working president MK Stalin will seek to reinforce his stamp of leadership and authority on the party and the opposition political space in the State.

The party has asked its cadres and well-wishers not to visit Karunanidhi’s residence to personally greet him on his birthday. Instead, in keeping with the digital age, the DMK has unveiled a web portal where one can wish the leader.

It has always been Karunanidhi’s style to regularly organise public meetings and agitations, especially when he was in the Opposition, to highlight issues, criticise the government, engage with party workers and keep them enthused and election-ready. Having learnt the tricks of the trade from his father and leader, Stalin too has continued the tradition.

Only two days ago, he led a protest against the Centre’s notification on cattle trade, when he even warned that there would be another ‘Marina agitation’, harking back to the January protests on the Marina beach in Chennai, where activists wanted the ban on the bull-taming sport Jallikattu lifted, if the new cattle trading regulations were not withdrawn.

Stalin also visited the injured IIT Madras research scholar who was reportedly beaten up on campus for participating in a pro-beef protest.

The DMK is clearly getting ready for elections – the party anticipates early Assembly polls, although the present AIADMK government took over only last year, and is gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. Stalin would like to bring together all the Opposition parties in the State under one umbrella with the DMK leading the alliance, which can even be fashioned as an anti-BJP front. Stalin has been taking pot shots at the two AIADMK factions, led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, accusing them of being servile to the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre.

Published on June 02, 2017

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