From movie star to heir apparent, Udayanidhi Stalin is DMK’s rising son

From movie star to heir apparent, Udayanidhi Stalin is DMK’s rising son. — IANS

ARUN LAKSHMAN
Chennai, June 11 (IANS) 
Udayanidhi Stalin, who was recently appointed as Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Sports Development and Youth Welfare, is the next big thing in DMK. Party cadres, mid-level leaders and even ministers have been in the forefront calling up the DMK leadership to post Udayanidhi as the Deputy Chief Minister.
Udayanidhi’s father and incumbent Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin had been a Deputy Chief Minister in his late father, M. Karunanidhi’s cabinet and that was the first instance of the post of a Deputy Chief Minister in Tamil Nadu.
The young scion of the Karunanidhi family was a film star as well as a movie producer but he was made the Youth wing state office bearer. And during the 2021 Assembly elections, he was allocated a seat to contest from Chepauk assembly constituency.
Udayanidhi is conducting programmes across the state and his close associates like Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi and T.R.B. Raaja are already ministers in Stalin’s cabinet.
There is a major narrative in the DMK that with the number of young voters in Tamil Nadu on the rise, the party needs a young face and Udayanidhi fits the bill.
As per the DMK narrative, Udayanidhi is known across the state from his time as an actor and there is acceptability among the youngsters of the state. This is one of the main reasons for Stalin pushing in for his inclusion in the cabinet.
With only Stalin and Kanimozhi active in politics from Karunanidhi’s family, and Azhagiri sidelined, the necessity of a next generation leader to maintain the grip of the family in the party was the major reason for the induction of a Udayanidhi in the party.
Just like Karunanidhi had brought forward Stalin to be his successor in DMK politics, Udayanidhi is being brought in by Stalin to take forward the mantle after him.
Udayanidhi has been travelling across Tamil Nadu and holding discussions with young people, opinion makers, researchers, students and grass root activists since he was inducted to politics and he played a significant role in the Erode East Assembly by-elections.
The young scion of the Karunanidhi family was in charge of several wards and booths in the Erode East bypolls and the DMK-backed Congress candidate and veteran leader E.V.K.S. Elangovan won the seat by a huge margin. This was considered as one of the major political assignment on Udayanidhi who carried it out in a shrewd and diligent manner.
Stalin was also shrewd enough to entrust the Ministry of Sports Development and Social welfare to his son with the belief that it would fetch him grassroots connectivity in the days to come and in that matter it’s a great learning experience for the young Udayanidhi.
However the recent leaked audio tape discussion of Tamil Nadu Minister for Information Technology, P.T.R. Thiagarajan when he was Finance minister in Stalin cabinet on corruption and the role of Udayanidhi has put a blot in the career of the young leader.
It is not anyone’s guess as to why Thiagarajan who was a poster boy of DMK was shunted out from the powerful post of Finance to the lesser one on Information Technology.
In the days to come, it will be Udayanidhi Stalin who will have to take forward the legacy of Karunanidhi and Stalin and the first family of DMK is cultivating and grooming him up for bigger roles in future.
The presence of Udayanidhi in almost all the crucial meetings undertaken by Stalin is also to be noted and this, according to political analysts was to familiarize the young leader with the business groups and other important personalities in Tamil social, business, and political arena.
Mahesh Raj, a Salem-based social activist and political, told IANS: “This is indeed Udayanidhi’s apprenticeship period and he has to do well under the guidance and mentorship of Stalin to excel in this. Just like Stalin made a mark of himself while serving as the Mayor of Chennai, Udayanidhi has to prove himself by bringing out-of-the-box thoughts and ideas and executing them in his ministry, and should stand out. This is a valuable grooming period for him and he has to make the most of it to become a political success to his illustrious father.”

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