Scion DMK ascends to the post of Chief Minister after a gradual rise in which he has proven himself for four decades.

It was a long road for Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin. Indira Gandhi’s urgency had catapulted him into active politics. It was a baptism of fire, when, in his early twenties, the newly married Stalin was taken away and imprisoned. His father, the late Patriarch Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Mr. Karunanidhi, once remarked that Mr. Stalin was arrested only because he was his father’s son.

The son, however, had to wait more than four decades to take his father’s seat, first in the party and, in the coming days, in government.

Karunanidhi had poignantly described the arrest of Mr. Stalin and the ensuing torture in prison. One of the jailed leaders of the DMK, Chittibabu, a former mayor of Chennai and a former parliamentarian, tried to intervene when prison officials beat him. Chittibabu was also severely beaten.

“We met Stalin in prison. Surrounded by prison officials, he obviously wore full sleeves to cover the wounds on his body. I asked if he had been beaten. Although he shook his head to say “no,” his eyes betrayed her. If he had revealed that he had been beaten, he would have been subjected to another round of beatings, ”recalls Karunanidhi in his autobiography. Nenjukku Needhi.

After Murasoli Maran, nephew of Karunanidhi, it was Mr. Stalin who showed a keen interest in politics. Long before the party’s youth wing was launched, he mobilized the youth of Gopalapuram and persuaded CN Chief Minister Annadurai to participate in their function.

Even though he has gone from being a leader of the youth wing to being a legislator, mayor of Chennai, minister and chief deputy minister over the years, Mr. Stalin had to constantly prove his courage. He was often compared negatively to his formidable father. Fearing a backlash against being seen as promoting him in the party and government, Karunanidhi allowed him only a gradual rise, lest his rise be seen as meteoric.

Karunanidhi named him after Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Communist leader, who died around the time of his birth. The name didn’t really help him in his youth. The famous Chennai Presentation Convent, the school attended by the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, refused him admission because he had a Communist name.

“Even my sister was not admitted because of me,” said Mr. Stalin.

Although the youth wing led by him became one of the strongest units of the DMK, and he himself tasted electoral victory as early as 1989 and entered the Assembly, he did not was inducted into the Cabinet when the DMK returned to power that year after the 13. years.

Even in 1996, after the DMK swept the ballot boxes, he remained just a party deputy. His major break came early enough, when he became the first elected mayor of the Chennai Corporation. The flyovers built in various parts of the city as part of its “Singara Chennai” program have earned it accolades. It was during this period that he began to gain prominence and a certain level of control in the party. He chose the alliance partners for the 2001 Assembly polls, which were mostly caste parties, a move that led to a difference of opinion with Murasoli Maran, who announced he was leaving active politics.

Mr. Stalin’s tenure as mayor gave him an administrative basis. He was appointed Minister of Rural Development and Municipal Administration after the ruling party’s election in 2006. He strengthened women’s self-help groups in the state and its growing influence in administration and the party. led to his promotion as Deputy Chief State Minister in 2009.

In the meantime, he also became the treasurer of the DMK.

The following years saw his growing control over the party. He downsized the powerful district secretaries of the party by branching out and trifurcating the district units they controlled as their fiefdoms. As the 2G scam gradually strained the relationship between the DMK and Congress, Mr. Stalin finally persuaded his father to leave the government of the United Progressive Alliance at the Center. Congress was forced to run alone in Lok Sabha’s polls in 2014.

Although he began to replace his father, who was unable to travel due to old age, as the party’s star activist in 2016 Assembly polls, he was not screened as the chief ministerial candidate. . Mr Stalin himself said during the campaign: “Kalaignar would be the chief minister.”

The DMK’s failure to win the 2016 Assembly elections forced the party to sit on the opposition benches for another five years. However, this gave Mr. Stalin the opportunity to lead his party in the Assembly as his father in a wheelchair could not attend the Assembly regularly.

Inspired by his relentless touring and festive work, Mr. Karunanidhi himself said that “Stalin personified hard work.” He became the active chairman of the party before his official election to the presidency in 2018, following the disappearance of his father.

The massive victory of the DMK and its alliance partners in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, halting the efforts of the Bharatiya Janata party to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu, caught the attention of national leaders who were looking for a binding force. for secular parties.

The way he behaved and the legal battle by which he secured a spot on the beach at Chennai Marina for his father’s funeral saw the emergence of a chief, who will occupy the seat of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.