Has the death of two charismatic leaders in
less than two years–AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa in December 2016 and now DMK Chief M Karunanidhi–created a leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics.
Unlike the AIADMK, which neither had a second line leadership nor announced anyone as possible successor to Ms Jayalalithaa, who took over reigns of the party leadership after the demise of her political mentor MGR, the DMK has in fact found an able leader in Karunanidhi’s son and Working President M K Stalin.
Will a bitter succession war erupt in the DMK again, or will Stalin, whom Karunanidhi anointed his successor in his lifetime, continue to hold sway over the party? This is the question the DMK workers are asking themselves as they prepare for life in the party after the death of Karunanidhi.
According to sources, the general and executive councils of the DMK would meet soon to formally elect the next president of the party.
Karunanidhi’s family broke down at Marina beach on Wednesday. The doyen of Tamil politics, Karunanidhi passed away on August 7 after a prolonged illness. ‘Kalaignar’ breathed his last at Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
Chennai on Wednesday appeared to be in the grip of a shutdown with shuttered shops and businesses and most vehicles going off the roads as a mark of respect to Karunanidhi.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday condoled the death of former Karunanidhi, describing him as a father figure who always showed great kindness and consideration to her.