Chennai: DMK cadres shared sweets and burst crackers in several places across Tamil Nadu on Thursday as the party general secretary K. Anbazhagan signed the announcement making party president M.K. Stalin's actor-son Udhayanidhi the DMK Youth Wing secretary.
The crowing of the DMK's rising son came as no surprise as Udhayanidhi has been pretty active in the party's programmes and agitations over the last couple of years, the climax happening during the recent Lok Sabha elections when he hit the road under scorching sun to independently campaign for the NDA candidates in all the constituencies in the state and the neighbouring Puducherry.
His sharp campaign had not only targeted the AIADMK government and its ministers but also the BJP and Narendra Modi.
Announcing Udhayanidhi's appointment to the high-profile party position held by his father and DMK president M K. Stalin for 34 years until 2017, nonagenarian Anbazhagan said he would take over from ex-minister M P Saminathan, who has been in that post after Stalin vacated it to become the party's working president on 4 January 2017. Sources said 'Vellakoil' Saminathan had given his resignation as secretary of the youth wing recently so as to facilitate Udhayanidhi's elevation.
“This appointment as youth wing secretary has come rather late for Udhayanidhi Stalin, who has surrendered himself to the service of the party”, tweeted Saminathan. The DMK social media was flooded in no time with adulating messages from party leaders congratulating Udhayanidhi. Party's legislators thumped the desks when Anbazhagan's statement on the appointment reached them. The actor-politico was overwhelmed by the hugs, shawls and garlands he received from DMK leaders; but then, the dearest gesture might be Papa Stalin presenting him a silk shawl and his endearing smile. Udhayanidhi became the party youth wing's third secretary since its formation in 1985, after Stalin and Saminathan.
Only a few days ago came reports that nearly 40 district secretaries have written to the DMK leadership at the 'Anna Arivalayam' headquarters expressing their wish that Udhayanidhi be made the youth wing chief. Anbazhagan was quoted in the media as saying that the “reins of the Dravidian movement have always been in safe hands-from Periyar to Anna to Kalaignar and now to Stalin and in the future to his son”.
But Stalin himself had been against the idea of his son coming into politics. Udhayanidhi was doing considerably good in Kollywood, starting as a producer and becoming a hero, fairly competent and widely popular.
Stalin was quoted by Vikatan in 2016 as saying that neither his son nor the son-in-law (Sabarish) would come into politics. “In fact, I can assure you none from my family will step into politics”, he had said.
But then, things have changed rapidly since then. AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa’s death (December 2016) threw up huge political vacuum and a tsunami of ‘opportunities’, along with a flood of ambitious aspirants to the top step in a suddenly-shortened ladder. However, DMK stalwarts insist that Udayanidhi isn’t an accident that suddenly happened in the party’s top ranks and the young man has been working alongside his father in recent years; besides, he is the CEO of DMK organ ‘Murasoli’, not just ceremoniously but pretty much hands-on even starting as its ‘proof-reader’ as a college student during thatha Kalaignar’s days.
“Udhayanidhi’s formal entry as youth wing secretary is bound to enthuse the party’s rank and file”, says former Chennai Mayor Ma. Subramanian. “There are over 30 lakh youth in the DMK and they will find it extremely exciting and enriching working with their new secretary”.
I do not seek any position in the DMK. I consider this (post of youth wing secretary) as a recognition of the contribution from the youth in the party . My hard work will give a fitting reply to the dynasty politics criticism.” Udhayanidhi Stalin....