Founded 2 years post-independence, the DMK(Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) has come a long way from a breakaway party to one of the most influential in India’s southern region, especially Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Among DMK’s retinue of leaders, none claimed as much fame and power as the late M. Karunanidhi, the first president of the party.
For almost 6 decades(1969-2018) he was at the helm of the party and shaped it into what it is today. Since his demise in 2018, his son and protege MK Stalin has taken up his father’s old job and carry the burden that comes with being the son of a man such as his father and also avenge DMK’s loss against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) in the legislative assembly elections.
Born in 1953, he was named after the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin by his father M. Karunanidhi who had just finished attending a condolence meeting and decided upon his newborn son’s name in a spur-of-the-moment decision. As a young teenager of 14, Stalin had been actively involved in his father’s line of work, often campaigning for the party as well.
Entry in politics:
Although Stalin had been politically active since his teenage years, he officially joined the party in 1973 when he was officiated into DMK’s General Council. Just a few years after this, the DMK government was dissolved due to corruption charges, and Stalin himself was arrested and spent a year in prison during the Emergency period.
The stunning victory of DMK in 1989 breathed new life into Stalin’s career as a politician, which was plateauing before. For this victory, he was given the title “Thalapathi” which means Commander. Apart from the aforementioned title, he was also called “Managara Thanathai”(Father of the city) for his commendable work as the mayor of Chennai. However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Stalin and his party, mainly due to their rivalry with the breakaway party the late Jayalalithaa led AIADMK.
After the 2019 general elections, DMK came out as the third-largest party in India with 24 seats. For the upcoming legislative elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Stalin has maintained his party’s age-old alliance with the UPA and hopes to rekindle the party’s influential expansion in the southern states of India.