DMK MLA and Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin is likely to be inducted into the Tamil Nadu state Cabinet by June, according to top sources in the party.
A senior DMK leader said the party and its first family did not want to repeat the mistake made with Stalin. “Stalin emerged as CM only at 70 years. He will be in his mid-70s by the next election. The party and the family believe that such a mistake should not happen with Udhayanidhi’s political future,” he added.
The leader said Udhayanidhi, who is 44 years old, was expected to complete his pending film projects by June. “Including Nenjukku Needhi (a Tamil remake of Article 15), his two projects are in the final stage. He was in discussions about two more projects. But we learn that he is unlikely to act in them,” he added.
When asked about the plan, another senior DMK functionary said it was likely to happen. “We complete one year (in power) in the first week of May. There is a general feeling that Udhayanidhi’s entry shouldn’t be delayed,” he added.
The leader said the DMK scion’s portfolio, if he is elevated, had not been decided and that his induction into the government was unlikely to affect others as he might be added to the Cabinet without replacing an incumbent minister.
The party functionary added, “A portfolio given to Udhayanidhi will automatically come into the limelight, it will also face public scrutiny. Other than his tenure as Mayor (of Chennai), what helped Stalin a lot was his local body portfolio in the 2006-’11 government. Something similar is being considered for Udhayanidhi too. A portfolio that demands that he travel across the state to meet a maximum number of people. He is young, he can travel north to south and west to east. Along with his good performance, getting familiar with governance, funds, and handling the Union government and their resources are crucial for his future.”
Udhayanidhi’s elevation in politics is seen in the party as primarily a dream of his mother Durga. Though the DMK leadership believes there won’t be any internal opposition to Udhayanidhi’s rise, one of the leaders The Indian Express spoke to said “there may be conflicts within the family but not very significant”. The party functionary added, “Kanimozhi is not expected to raise an opposition as her role and powers are already defined.”
According to multiple sources, the family of Stalin’s elder brother Alagiri is largely unhappy as Alagiri did not get anything out of the DMK’s poll victory last year. The family, including Alagiri’s son Dayanidhi Alagiri, is in touch with Udhayanidhi and other family members in Chennai. A source said Alagiri’s family receives “minimal help and resources” for its small businesses.
Political analyst P Ramajayam from the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy in Trichy said the much-delayed elevation of Stalin might be the reason why Udhayanidhi was likely to make an early entry. “If it is to happen soon, they may be thinking that they should not make Udhayanidhi wait for too long. Making his entry into the state Cabinet faster means he will evolve as a leading figure earlier than Stalin did. Such responsibilities also make him familiar with administrative decisions and government operations. It is essentially a decision to channelise his growth,” Ramajayam added.
Asked about any pushback the party might face over accusations of dynasty politics, Ramajayam said it was unlikely. “Dynasty politics is not a difficult thing for people to digest these days. It is part of all political parties now. Or, leaders who emerge from dynasty families are even seen as next-generation leaders now,” he added.