Chennai: A day after Rahul Gandhi announced his resignation as Congress president, two political scions were entrusted with key party posts in the south.
While Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of DMK president M K Stalin, was made the youth wing secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Nikhil, son of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, was named leader of the JD(S) youth wing.
Both appointments, or anointments, were made on auspicious day and time, if sources are to be believed.
As expected, Udhayanidhi’s elevation has attracted brickbats from critics, who say ‘dynasty politics in DMK has touched a new high’.
Says Minister and AIADMK senior D Jayakumar, “The AIADMK is a people’s party – even an ordinary person can become the Chief Minister. But the DMK is a party of kings, only heirs can come to posts.”
AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Selvaraj says, “Dravidian greats like Periyar and Anna never encouraged dynasty politics. They did not promote their family members. The trend of giving party posts to kin was introduced by Karunanidhi in these parts. MGR and Amma (Jayalalithaa) were opposed to this. After them, the party and the government are now headed by those who started their political career as primary members.”
DMK’s Parandhaman counters this. “Udhayanidhi was given the youth wing head post only because of his charisma, crowd-pulling capacity and extensive campaign in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections. Many district units of the DMK had passed resolutions urging the high command to elevate Udhayanidhi. The AIADMK has no right to criticise us, since Panneerselvam’s son Raveendranth Kumar is a MP now, Jayakumar’s son Jayavardhan is a former MP and Rajan Chellappa’s son Raj Sathyan was given seat in parliamentary polls.”
Ravi Seshaiah, a professor and political analyst, says, “There can be no bigger political family in the country than the Gandhis. Even their attempts to promote Rahul backfired badly. The political future of Udhayanidhi and Nikhil depend on how they steer the youth wings of their respective parties ahead and how their parties perform in the upcoming polls.”