The decks are clear for MK Stalin's elevation as the DMK President. He will officially become the boss of the party today. The chosen political heir of M Karunanidhi, his father and party chief, Mr Stalin has been managing the party for more than a year as his 94-year-old father faded out of public life due to failing health. DMK loyalists say he exercises full control over the party.
Following Mr Karunanidhi's death earlier this month, the position of DMK president fell vacant. Mr Stalin filed his nomination at Anna Arivalayam, the party headquarters, in Chennai on Sunday. He is set to become the party president unopposed as his was the only nomination received for the post. Senior leader and party principal secretary Duraimurugan also filed his papers for the post of treasurer, previously held by Mr Stalin.
MK Stalin would be the second president of the DMK. His father led the party for 49 years. DMK founder CN Annadurai, who had founded the party branching out from Dravidiar Kazhagam, had left the position vacant for his mentor Periyar.
A former deputy chief minister, local administration minister and two-time Mayor of Chennai MK Stalin was groomed by his father himself. It was Mr Stalin who had led the campaign for the last assembly election. Mr Stalin's gradual elevation and projection as Mr Karunanidhi's successor led to rebellion by his elder brother and M Karunanidhi's eldest son MK Alagiri, who, too, eyed his father's throne.
However, Mr Karunanidhi expelled MK Alagiri, a former union minister and party's Organising Secretary (South) from the party in 2014. He rarely made any noise after that.
Now, Mr Alagiri is opposed to Mr Stalin's elevation as the party president. He made an appearance at his father's memorial and claimed that the Karunanidhi loyalists were with him, which Mr Stalin's camp termed as "empty rhetoric". He wishes to be taken back into the party fold, but insiders rule out any possibility of his re-entry to the party. The loyalists are solid about Mr Stalin.
Ever since his father's death, he has been speaking in riddles, but on Monday, a day ahead of Mr Stalin's elevation, MK Alagiri warned the party of "consequences" if it did not take him back. He plans to lead a peace rally to the mausoleum of Mr Karunanidhi on September 5.
"You please wait till September 5 when we are organising silent rally to pay homage at the memorial of thalaivar (leader)... We are organising this only because my supporters want this".
Bypolls for two constituencies are due to be held in Tamil Nadu -- Tiruparangundram; Mr Alagiri's bastion Madurai; and Tiruvarur, his father's seat.
The DMK had drawn a blank in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with the AIADMK sweeping 37 of the 39 seats. It suffered back-to-back defeats in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls in 2011 and 2016.
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