- MK Stalin father M Karunanidhi was DMK chief for 49 years
- Mr Stalin was the only person to file nomination for DMK chief
- Brother MK Alagiri warned of "consequences" if he's not taken back by DMK
MK Stalin today took charge as the official boss of Tamil Nadu's opposition DMK, one of the state's two main parties. The chosen political heir of his father and DMK president M Karunanidhi, Mr Stalin has managed the party for more than a year as his 94-year-old father faded out of public life due to failing health.
At the DMK headquarters, black-and-red party flags, music and drumbeats this morning signaled festivities for the first time in days, ahead of a formal takeover by Mr Stalin, the party's second president. Mr Karunanidhi was DMK chief for 49 years.
DMK loyalists say Mr Stalin, 65, exercises full control over the party.
After Mr Karunanidhi's death, the party announced an election but Mr Stalin was the only person to file his nomination at Anna Arivalayam, the party headquarters in Chennai, on Sunday. He was elected party president unopposed amid chants of "Thalapathy" (commander) and roaring applause.
At a meeting on August 14, senior party leaders urged the ''waiting prince'' to lead them.
Senior leader and party principal secretary Duraimurugan will take the post of treasurer, previously held by Mr Stalin.
Mr Stalin's supporters have dismissed threats by his older brother and rebel MK Alagiri as "rhetoric". Mr Alagiri, who was expelled in 2014, has warned the party of "consequences" if he is not taken back. "Kalaignar is not there now. The party has to be saved and protected," he has said.
Mr Stalin, a former deputy chief minister, minister and two-time Chennai mayor, was groomed by his father. 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 Mr Alagiri, who, too, eyed his father's throne.
However, Mr Karunanidhi expelled his eldest son, a former union minister and party's Organising Secretary (South).
Mr Alagiri made an appearance at his father's funeral at Marina Beach and claimed that Karunanidhi loyalists were with him. He plans to lead a peace rally to Mr Karunanidhi's memorial on September 5.
The Alagiri-Stalin rivalry has shadowed the DMK for a long time but Karunanidhi kept a fragile peace.
Insiders rule out any possibility of Mr Alagiri's re-entry to the party. Mr Stalin's other big challenge is bypolls in Tamil Nadu for two seats - Tiruparangundram in 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.'
The DMK's candidate in the by-election for J Jayalalithaa's RK Nagar seat lost his deposit and came a poor third after independent candidate T.T.V. Dinakaran and AIADMK leader E. Madhusudhanan.