MK Stalin's Son Arrested Over Rally Launching DMK's Election Campaign

Udhayanidhi Stalin launched the DMK's 75-day campaign ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections due early next year with other senior leaders.

Udhayanidhi Stalin said he wanted to highlight the "improper administration" of the AIADMK government.

Chennai:

DMK chief MK Stalin's son Udhyanidhi was arrested in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district on Friday as he launched the party's campaign for next year's elections at an event that the police said violated COVID-19 curbs. "There are no permissions for political meetings," a police officer told NDTV.

Highlighting the "improper administration" of the AIADMK government, Udhayanidhi Stalin, the DMK youth wing leader, launched the party's 75-day campaign ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections due early next year with other senior leaders.

Earlier, at an event organised in Tiruvarur district's Tirukkuvalai, the birthplace of former party chief M Karunanidhi, he said he had set out on the campaign to take the message of his father to various parts of the state to end the "darkness that has engulfed Tamil Nadu".

The campaign titled "Vidiyalai Nokki Stalinin Kural" (Stalin's voice for dawn) will cover all 234 assembly segments ahead of assembly elections in the state due in April-May.

The party's Women's Wing leader and Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi, former Ministers K Ponmudi and I Periyasamy among others will tour different parts of the state as part of the campaign, a DMK news release said.

"The leaders will explain to people party president's slogan of walking towards a new dawn by rejecting the ruling AIADMK's atrocities and administrative lapses," it said.

DMK Principal Secretary K N Nehru said 15 top leaders of the party will address 1,500 meetings in 75 days across the state at all 234 constituencies while Mr Stalin is expected to join the campaign trail in January.

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Mr Nehru, a former minister, said because of orders banning large crowds for political gathering among others given the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Stalin was expected to hold election rallies from January.

"But he (Stalin) is in touch with people through video conference. There will be a crowd if he goes for public meetings... after January he will start the campaigning," Mr Nehru told news agency PTI.

Many also see the DMK's move positioning Mr Stalin's son Udhayanidhi in a lead role for campaign as a calculated step to give him credit later if the party wins the elections, so he could be elevated as the Number 2 in the party.

A resurgent DMK is keen to unseat arch-rival AIADMK in the state where it has been in opposition for the last over nine years.

The party was defeated in the 2011 assembly polls when J Jayalalithaa led her party to a resounding victory. It lost again in 2016, before bouncing back with a strong performance in last year's Lok Sabha elections.

An alliance led by the DMK, also including the Congress, won 38 of the 39 parliament seats in Tamil Nadu, besides the lone Puducherry seat, leaving just one to the AIADMK, in the first major election in the state held after the death of Ms Jayalalithaa and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in 2016 and 2018 respectively.