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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

And long lives the family: Stalin son now in race

Party insiders claim that had Karunanidhi been around, Udhayanidhi at least would have had to prove his mettle from a tougher Assembly seat than getting the family pocketborough of Chepauk-Triplicane.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: March 13, 2021 9:47:09 am
Udhayanidhi is believed to be close to his mother Durga Stalin, and insiders say it is she who has pushed him to enter politics. (File)

Udhayanidhi Stalin’s elevation as the head of the DMK youth wing in 2019 had first triggered rumours about his political ambitions. Father M K Stalin has been more than obliging, choosing to rush along the 43-year-old’s career. In comparison, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi made Stalin sweat his way to the top. Party insiders claim that had Karunanidhi been around, Udhayanidhi at least would have had to prove his mettle from a tougher Assembly seat than getting the family pocketborough of Chepauk-Triplicane.

Born and brought up in Chennai amidst the first family of Tamil Nadu politics, Udhayanidhi is a graduate from Loyola College. He later forayed into films like grandfather Karunanidhi, becoming an actor and producer. He runs a production house called Red Giant. Udhayanidhi’s wife Krithika is an entrepreneur with interests in fashion, publication and production of documentary films.

As the DMK scents power, fears are being expressed over whether return of the party’s government would mean return of the Karunanidhi family’s hegemony over film production, distribution, exhibition and sale of rights. Red Giants already faces charges of controlling the same, along with Sun Pictures of Maran brothers of the DMK and Cloud Nine run by Dhayanidhi Alagiri, son of Stalin’s elder brother M K Alagiri.

Udhayanidhi is believed to be close to his mother Durga Stalin, and insiders say it is she who has pushed him to enter politics. Having seen Stalin fight long and hard to be considered the rightful heir to Karunanidhi’s legacy, she apparently wants to ensure Udhayanidhi has an easy road to the mantle.

With Alagiri sidelined, Udhayanidhi seems well on course for that. The only family member who can lay any claim to the party is Kanimozhi, Stalin’s stepsister. But with little political base, Kanimozhi hasn’t shown any stomach for the bitter fight needed to put up a challenge.

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