DMK chief MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin has been appointed as the party’s youth wing secretary, party general secretary K Anbazhagan said on Thursday. Udhayanidhi, who is an actor, currently heads the Murasoli Trust.
During the recent Lok Sabha elections and assembly bypolls, Udhayanidhi had actively campaigned for the party. The election was a litmus test to Stalin’s leadership as the DMK was contesting for the first time without patriarch M Karunanidhi at the helm.
Stalin’s burden, to a certain extent, was shared by his son Udhayanidhi, who spearheaded the campaign in small towns and panchayats. His campaigning style and aggressive approach towards the opposition did raise quite a few eyebrows as the party had never seen him in a full-fledged political avatar. “More than being an actor, managing director of Murasoli, grandson of Kalaignar, son of Stalin, I’m proud to be a DMK cadre,” Udhayanidhi Stalin said during a meeting in Pollachi a few months ago.
As the DMK performed well both in Lok Sabha and the bypolls, close to 40 district secretaries had written to the party headquarters requesting Stalin to appoint Udhayanidhi as the party’s youth wing secretary.
The post of youth wing secretary is one of the key positions in DMK’s organizational structure. Stalin had also served as secretary of the then five-lakh strong youth wing of the party. It proved to be the breeding ground of Stalin’s political career as he remained secretary for 34 long years. Later on, he was elevated to serve as party treasurer, Deputy Chief Minister and now as the party president.
Though Udhayanidhi’s elevation was largely welcomed by DMK cadres, it drew a sharp response from political observers over the party’s dynastic rule. Former DMK chief Kalaignar Karunanidhi had once famously said the DMK was not a ‘Sankara mutt’ and the party’s general counsel and the executive committee would decide on the party leadership. A few years ago, even DMK president Stalin had said no one from his family will join politics including his son.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, DMK organizing secretary and RajyaSabha MP RS Bharathi said: “There is no such thing called dynasty, the party has picked the deserving member. A youth-wing needs an able leader and Udhayanidhi is the right choice. He has worked so hard for the party, the election results are proof of his caliber. None of the opposition members can claim this as dynasty politics, MGR said his party will be against the dynasty, now what happened to AIADMK? Who contested in Theni? And what about Anbumani Ramadoss? He was defeated in the elections still his father is lobbying for a RajyaSabha post for him, even in Andhra Jaganmohan Reddy has become the Chief Minister. So, this is a clichéd accusation, we are just giving a party post to Udhayanidhi, there is nothing wrong in that”
After Stalin and former minister and three-time MLA Vellakoil Saminathan, Udhayanidhi becomes the third youth wing secretary of the party, and second from Dravidian stalwart Karunanidhi’s family.