‘Feud’ in the ‘First Family’ of ‘Dravida Nadu’.

via B.R.HARAN published on May 12, 2007

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK under Karunanidhi Family is like Congress under Nehru Family. Karunanidhi has been successful in sending his competitors like MGR, Nedunchezhiyan, and etc. out of DMK. He reined supreme unparalleled till the middle of seventies, when MGR, who formed a new party AIADMK, removed him from power and captured Fort St. George with sheer ‘magic’. Then till MGR’s death, Karunanidhi couldn’t do much and after MGR’s death, when he thought he would regain his supremacy, Jayalalitha posed a great threat similar to MGR and till date she had ousted him twice once in 1991 and again in 2001. Even in the last elections in 2006, MK had to rely on ‘alliance arithmetic’ and SUN TV’s tele-campaign to come back to power, only after conceding 80+ seats to the opposition out of 235 seats.


‘DADA’ FROM THE SOUTH: In the meantime, Karunanidhi sent his elder son Azhagiri to Madurai and since 1989, Azhagiri has been the undisputed king of DMK in the Southern parts of Tamil Nadu. He even made the lives of veterans like Palanivel Rajan and Tha. Kiruttinan (Stalin’s supporter) miserable, and it is not a surprise that he is the prime accused in Kiruttinan murder case. His supporters have once ransacked the office of Tamil Daily ‘Dinamalar’ in 1997, when the daily published an article against him. His supporters were also involved in the murder of Leelavathi, a Madurai Municipal Councilor belonging to CPM. Whenever the High Command at Chennai refused to listen to him, with regards to awarding tickets or choosing candidates, his cadres would unleash violence through out the southern districts. At one point of time, the High Command even issued a diktat against him asking the party men not to have any contacts with him. But then, he was reinstated when he engineered the defeats of DMK candidates in the 2001 elections. He also had tussles with his younger brother Stalin, and has not yet come to terms with him fully. Whenever DMK comes to power, the police and bureaucracy, from Madurai to down south, have to act as per his whims & fancy.


‘THALAPATHI’ FROM THE NORTH: Karunanidhi’s younger son Stalin has come to the top because of sheer hard work and of course with the blessings of his father too. He used to work hard at the cadre level and managed to set up his own team of young politicians. He had even undergone the ordeal of prison life during the days of ‘Emergency’. He has always been ready to contest in elections and did a fairly good job as the Mayor of Chennai, which made his cadres to accept him as the future Chief Minister. He has served in the assembly as well and now he is the Local Administration Minister. Moreover, he has always been in the good books of senior leaders like Anbazhagan, Veerasamy and Duraimurugan. He was also able to acquire a considerable support in Azhagiri’s strong hold of southern Tamil Nadu. No doubt, he is being projected as the successor of Karunanidhi in DMK. But, he has health problems, which makes him fall sick quite often, as evidenced by the fact that he could not travel like his octogenarian father during the last election campaigns. His oratorical skills are not so good as his father and he is neither a crowd puller. His presence was never felt in the assembly while in the opposition benches and he has got his own limitations.


‘MINISTER’ AT THE CENTER: Karunanidhi affectionately called the Late Murasoli Maran as his ‘conscience’. Murasoli Maran, till his last days, remained as the face of DMK in Delhi and he played his politics so well, that DMK always remained in the ruling alliance, particularly in the last two decades. So, during the last days of Maran, Karunanidhi was a little worried about a suitable replacement for him and hence, requested the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to take Dayanidhi Maran (Murasoli maran’s son) into the cabinet in place of Sr. Maran. As Vajpayee refused to take in a fresh & inexperienced novice, he came out of NDA followed by PMK & MDMK. In the following parliament elections in 2004, he aligned with Congress party and made Dayanidhi Maran as a MP from the Chennai Central constituency. The sudden arrival & success of Dayanidhi infuriated Azhagiri and both of them locked horns quite often. When Karunanidhi had to face a tough assembly election in 2006, it was Dayanidhi Maran, who conceived, devised and executed the strategies to the extent that he even forgot that he was a central Minister. The Channel SUN TV owned by the Marans also added strength to their meticulous campaign and when DMK defeated Jayalalitha & captured power, Karunanidhi was literally overwhelmed by Dayanidhi’s capacity & capability. This even made Stalin to fume and both of them are alleged to be not in talking terms recently. Since then, Dayanidhi has been calling the shots bringing in many MNCs’ investments in to the state. He is well versed with English & Hindi and his business acumen was quite visible even in electioneering, media managing and Ministry handling.


‘POETESS’ AT THE ENTRANCE: As both Azhagiri & Stalin are aware of their limitations and as they cannot match Maran’s intelligence & acumen, they allegedly decided to keep a check on him in Delhi and hence convinced their father to send their step-sister Kanimozhi to Rajya sabha, which is likely to happen in the near future. The so-called “Poetess” suddenly came in to the limelight through the controversial conduction of a folk art festival in the name of “Chennai Sangamam”. The Tamil Nadu based media houses started covering all her activities, however insignificant they have been, allegedly due to unofficial orders. The media houses hyped the ‘dam squib’ of a festival ‘Chennai Sangamam’ as a great success and lauded Kanimozhi’s efforts in helping the so-called ‘resurgence’ of folk arts in the state. But like her stepbrother Azhagiri, she never talked of entering active politics.


‘MADNESS’ IN MADURAI: The Marans must have thought, “why not our media, support & work for our own family, instead of supporting & working for some other family?” So, an opinion poll supposedly conducted by AC Nielsen was arranged to be published in the daily “Dinakaran” and telecast in SUN TV as well. Opinions were called for; on the basis of two questions a day and the questions were asked in relevance with various fields including politics. When the daily published opinions on “Who should be the successor of Jayalalitha in AIADMK”, the DMK & its allies enjoyed making fun of it. After two or three days the PMK leader Dr. Ramadoss got a bolt from the blue by means of an opinion poll on “performance rate of Union Ministers from Tamil Nadu”. The daily opined that Communications Minister Dayanidhi has scored 60+ marks against 2 marks of Health Minister Anbumani, with regards to performance. Dr. Ramadoss openly criticized DMK for playing third-rate politics and Karunanidhi suggested that such opinion polls should be ignored and should not be taken seriously. The DMK party men rejoiced over this also. Then after two days, came the bombshell on “Who should be the successor of Karunanidhi in DMK”. Dinakaran opined that, Stalin got 70% votes followed by ‘others’ (easy to guess who the ‘others’ is) with 20% and Azhagiri & Kanimozhi getting only 2% each. This provocation was enough for the supporters of Azhagiri, who went on a rampage in the office of Dinakaran and unleashed violence through out the southern districts. Newspaper copies of Dinakaran & effigies of Marans were burnt and petrol bombs were thrown inside the Dinakaran office and the vehicles of staff were burnt. Buses and other vehicles were stoned. The mad violence resulted in the death of three staff, who were working in Dinakaran’s office. The local Police acted as mere spectators, allegedly as per the instructions from the state head quarters. Kalanidhi Maran, the Chief of SUN group, visited Madurai, consoled his staff and gave a solatium of 15 lakhs to each of the victim’s family. He asserted that, it was an attack on the freedom of press and called for the arrest of Azhagiri and his henchmen. His SUN TV repeatedly telecast the tragic event and castigated Azhagiri and literally waged a war against DMK, by reporting even Jayalalitha’s remarks on the episode. On the other hand, Azhagiri arrogantly claimed that he never reads Dinakaran and that the attack was not carried out by his followers, but by some other men with vested interests. Later on, he sent a legal notice to Kalanidhi Maran on Defamation grounds.


This incident of shame took the front pages of English dailies & Dinakaran, but the two leading Tamil dailies “Dina Thanthi” & ” Dina Malar” reported the incident as a small item on the 16th page & 4th page respectively, for reasons known to them only.


 REACTIONS FROM THE ‘PATRIARCH’:  When the news about the attack reached Karunanidhi, he had a closed door meeting with his important cabinet colleagues and left the secretariat for his house. He was visibly upset and ultimately decided to take the side of his son against his grand nephew. He also sanctioned a solatium of Rs. 2. Lakhs each for the victims. The next day, he made a statement in the assembly condemning both the attack & the opinion poll and ordered for a CBI enquiry. Before ordering the enquiry, he said that, since his family is involved in the incident, he has decided not to entrust the investigation job to the state police and hence he is opting for a CBI enquiry. This particular statement is being attributed to his acceptance of his family’s controls over the state police, which doesn’t augur well for him. It is also rumored that, when Dayanidhi tried to contact Karunanidhi late in the evening on 11th, he was refused audience and that when he opted to send his resignation, Karunanidhi had said that he was not a post man to carry his resignation letter to the Prime Minister. In the mean time, Jaya TV had reported that Karunanidhi had asked Dayanidhi to resign. It is believed that Dayanidhi & Kalanidhi have left for Ooty & USA respectively today (12th of May) to stay away for some time.


GOLDEN JUBILE OF ASSEMBLY SERVICE: Despite the fact that his family feud had resulted in a tragic end, he had decided against the cancellation of the celebration of his Golden anniversary of “Assembly Service” and the state machinery was in full flow for the successful conduction of this extravaganza. The whole city wore a festival look. Flagstaff fitted with tube lights & plantain trees were planted every five meters and cutouts & digital banners were placed every twenty meters through out the city and state owned transport buses & private vans were utilized to bring the party cadres from al;l parts of Tamil Nadu. Lakhs of party cadres descended on the city and created hell for general public and made their life miserable.


 The felicitation was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Former Prime Minister I.K.Gujral, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Yadav, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan, PMK’s Dr. Ramadoss and many others. All these leaders showered Karunanidhi with words of praise. The Communication & IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran received Manmohan & Sonia at the airport, but he & his family were not present at the celebrations due to obvious reasons and even the live telecast rights of the function were awarded to Raj TV. Prior to that, a celebration was organized inside the assembly as well, where in, the party members and the alliance members vied with one another in singing encomiums on the Chief Minister, while the opposition AIADMK & MDMK boycotted the function. The same night, Jaya TV owing allegiance to AIADMK, telecast a special program titled “Vaarisu Yudham – X-ray report” (Heir War-An ‘X’ ray report) about the feud in the family of Karunanidhi.


The CM, having condemned both the opinion poll and the violence there after, is not expected to take any actions against his son Azhagiri, but may suitably find scapegoats and close the issue. When the entire issue is crystal clear, the state police will solve the case, and one wonders at the order for a CBI investigation. Karunanidhi need not have ordered for a CBI enquiry to prove his credibility. It would have been appreciated had he given complete freedom for the local police to act as per the law. People would have also appreciated if he had cancelled the golden jubilee celebration, which turned out to be another ugly show of Dravidian Cultural Sycophancy.


          This ugly exhibition of Dravidian Culture is a clear case of “Family Feud” and has nothing to do with freedom of press, as viewed in a section of the media. The day when the newspaper Dinakaran called for opinions on the ‘successor of Jayalalitha’, Karunanidhi must have anticipated and prepared for the worse, or, must have prevented his grand nephews from going ahead with this particular stupid question, which is the root cause for all that have happened in Madurai. Even after the opinion poll on “Performance of union ministers from TN”, in which Health Minister Anbumani was snubbed, Karunanidhi had not woken up, despite the smoking family feud inside. The problem in Tamil Nadu is, political parties have their own media houses, which has made democracy a laughing stock. These parties indulge in “Print Wars” & “Tele Wars”, taking the people for a solid ride. So, as a combination of media and political party, Dinakaran & DMK have reaped what they have sowed! There is no point in crowing about it.


The media should stop acting in a biased and partisan manner, if at all it wants to survive in a political era of caste, crime and corruption. Most of the media do not bother about integrity and act in an irresponsible manner in the name of investigative journalism, sensationalism and secularism, which will certainly result in attacks like this. Ultimately the media has to face attacks and hence it would be better for the media to draw a ‘Lakshman Reka’ and act within its boundary.  


The “Family Feud”, which was fuming inside has come out in to the open, resulting in the loss of three precious & innocent lives for no fault of theirs. While mourning for the victims, let us all mourn for the state also as it has been reeling under the darkness called “Dravidianism” for the last 40 years and let us pray God to relieve us from this darkness and lead us to a bright future.


                                                                                                 – .


Note: This article is based on Media reports.

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