Millennium Post

Southern twist to dynasty games

Looks like DMK’s first family saga can turn into a full-fledged Tamil blockbuster, thanks to the public showdown between Karunanidhi’s two sons, Stalin and Alagiri. With death threats flying in the air and expulsions around the corner, the political opposition in Tamil Nadu seems mired in the worst kind of dynastic politics, with a bloodbath looming in the horizon and an ageing patriarch unable to rein his prodigal successors. It is common knowledge that Alagiri has been the family black sheep, and has maintained a parallel court and cadre base for himself, while Stakin has been groomed for the past 15 years to gradually take over the mantle from the nonagenarian Karuna. Post its unceremonious exit from the UPA government over India’s Sri Lanka resolution last year, DMK has been consigned to political wilderness. Not only has Congress-led UPA’s prospects dwindled to dust since then, even within the southern state, Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK’s stars have been on the ascendant. Hence, the latest family drama appears to be the last nail that a declining DMK needs to seal its political coffin, at least for the time being.

Given that both Stalin and Alagiri lack the political charisma and acumen of their father, and Jayalalithaa is becoming a shrewder and more respected leader with every passing day, DMK’s niche as a vibrant political opposition is eroding fast. With daughter Kanimozhi and wife Dayalu Ammal embroiled in 2G scam, Karuna must bank on his younger son to pass on the baton to. The family can ill-afford a public skirmish over leadership roles since that is bound to damage the party credentials further. Unless DMK becomes a strong player in the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha polls and shares space within the ruling coalition, its very existence will be called into question. There is little to be gained by washing dirty linen in public and DMK should instead focus on getting its act in order.
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