Can Stalin-Rahul carry forward Karunanidhi-Sonia bonhomie?

File photo of Stalin and Rahul Gandhi

Chennai: During his seven-decade-long political career, M Karunanidhi had shared blow-hot blow-cold relationship with the Congress, the grand old party of the country. From ‘showing black flag to Jawaharlal Nehru’ to hailing Indira Gandhi as ‘Nehruvin magale varuga, nilayana aatchi tharuga’ to praising Rajiv Gandhi for empowering local bodies to backing Sonia Gandhi-led UPA from 2004-2014, ‘Kalaignar’ had been both a trusted friend and strong critic of the Congress.

After his demise, the baton of the DMK has been passed on to his son M K Stalin and the Congress, too, witnessed a leadership change late last year, with Rahul Gandhi being enthroned.

On Tuesday, Rahul was one among the early birds to greet Stalin when he was elected unopposed as the president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. For his part, Stalin dispelled notions that his party was leaning towards the BJP, by saying, “Come! Join hands with me to teach a lesson to the Modi government which is trying to saffronise entire India.”

According to Tamilnadu Congress Committee president S Thirunavukkarasar, “Rahul and Stalin will certainly carry forward the legacy of Sonia and Kalaignar. We have no doubts about it. By raising his voice against the BJP government in his very first address as DMK president, Stalin has made it clear that our partnership will continue.”

File photo of Karunanidhi and Sonia Gandhi.

E Jothiram, a chartered accountant and political analyst, says, “More than political partners, Karunanidhi and Sonia had shared a father-daughter like relationship. This was visible in the condolence statement of Sonia when Karunanidhi passed away earlier this month. She said, ‘For me, Kalaignar’s loss is very personal. He always showed me great kindness and consideration, which I can never forget. He was like a father figure to me’.

“As of now, it appears Stalin and Rahul are on good terms and the alliance between the DMK and Congress is intact. But, as they say, there is no permanent friend or foe in politics and with just months left for the Lok Sabha elections, anything can happen. In the long run, the continuance of the DMK-Congress alliance depends on the performance of both the parties in parliamentary polls.”

With Tiruchi Siva, the DMK’s Delhi strongman, saying at the coronation of Stalin that the “Thalapathi (now Thalaivar) will not just become the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu but will also decide the next Prime Minister of the country”, will Stalin help Rahul become PM?

M Bhaskar Sai