Chennai: DMK means, party members and supporters would say till a few years ago, Dr M Karunanidhi. Such was the power ‘Kalaignar’ wielded in the party for five decades.
Though his position was questioned a couple of times by leaders like MGR and Vaiko, and there were some high-profile exits, Karunanidhi remained the political veteran of Tamilnadu till he breathed his last on this day last year: 7 August 2018.
In its first year without Karunanidhi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has witnessed many changes. M K Stalin, the prince-in-waiting for decades, was finally anointed as party supremo.
Karunanidhi’s elder son M K Alagiri, calling the shots from the south, protested his sibling’s rise initially. But, silence became his only choice after he could not prove his might among party office-bearers.
Kanimozhi, the poetess-daughter of ‘Kalaignar’, was expected by a few to throw a challenge at Stalin. But, she remained a staunch supporter of her ‘anna’ and is now the MP from Thoothukudi. Poetic justice, so to speak.
From Durai Murugan to T R Baalu to K N Nehru to K Ponmudi, all stalwarts of Karunanidhi-era are now the ‘porpadai thalapathis‘ of the ‘Thalapathi’.
Marans and their medias have become more vocal mouthpieces of the DMK, which is also backed by other media houses, including the party’s first family-owned Kalaignar TV group.
There is a strong IT wing operating from Arivalayam itself. All these things, coupled with the unquestionable hard work of Stalin and fieldwork of udanpirappus, gifted the DMK a feat that it had only imagined all these years – victory in 37 out of 38 seats the party and its allies had contested in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
And, the surprise twist came only after that. Udhayanidhi Stalin, hailed as ‘Moondram Kalaignar’ by his ‘admirers’, was made the youth wing head of the DMK.
Though almost everyone in the DMK was double okay with the OK OK hero’s appointment, critics and rivals mocked the move, saying DMK means Dynasty Munnetra Kazhagam.
From Dr M Karunanidhi (DMK) to Dynasty Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the party has come a long way in the last one year. But, its fate in the years to come will depend on whether it functions as a Dutiful Makkal Katchi (DMK) or not.