Birthday boy Stalin smokes peace pipe with Kalanidhi Maran

March 2nd, 2008 - 1:22 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
(Lead)

Chennai, March 1 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin, son of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, marked his birthday Saturday, smoking a peace pipe with media baron and relative Kalanidhi Maran, setting tongues wagging. Stalin, 56, started the day by visiting his father and mother Dayalu Ammal at the Gopalapuram house, prostrating at their feet and taking their blessings.

He then met union ministers, coalition party leaders, DMK cadre and other well wishers at his residence in south Chennai.

One of the surprise visitors was Kalanidhi Maran, elder brother of Dayanidhi Maran, the high-profile former telecommunications minister.

Maran junior was dropped from the Manmohan Singh cabinet last August, following a spat with the Karunanidhi family, especially the chief minister’s elder son M.K. Azhagiri.

Azhagiri’s reaction to the patch-up with the Marans is not known. He only greeted his younger brother over the telephone.

The DMK had also dissociated itself from the Sun Television network and its media group following the spat. Kalanidhi’s business interests in cable TV and other ventures were also hurt by the withdrawal of the DMK support.

Kalanidhi not only greeted Stalin - projected by the DMK as future chief minister - he spent more than one hour with him. Karunanidhi’s younger daughter M.K. Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, was also present.

The Marans and the Karunanidhi family reportedly had a secret conclave in Bangalore two weeks ago at the house of Karunanidhi’s elder daughter Selvi, who is married to Murasoli Maran’s brother.

Low-key ceremonies marking Stalin’s birthday are being seen as a precautionary measure, after Karunanidhi dished out a reprimand to party workers who gave Stalin a thumping welcome at the Chennai airport when he returned from Japan two weeks ago.

Indirectly mentioning the chaos the party workers created at the airport, Karunanidhi cautioned the activists in Murasoli, the party organ: “Extravagant publicity blitz would irritate the public and dent the party’s image”.

Stalin went to Japan to persuade the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to fund a number of projects in Tamil Nadu.

Karunanidhi’s warning notwithstanding, the Chennai Corporation, led by Mayor M. Subramanian, passed a resolution commending Stalin for the JBIC loan of Rs.9.7 billion ($242.4 million) the city got from the JBIC for the metro rail project.

On the eve of the birthday celebrations, Stalin’s wife Durga and son M.K.S. Udayanidhi opened a clinic at a dental college in Thiruvallur, north of Chennai.

Udayanidhi, the 30-year-old businessman, grabbed the opportunity to announce that he was also entering politics.

“I am new to politics. I have begun learning from elders in the party,” he said.

“I have been a trustee of the DMK party organ Murasoli for two years. I represent my father at party functions when he is away. I want to contribute to the DMK in my own way,” he added.

Udayanidhi’s remarks comes after Azhagiri inducted his son M.K.A. Dayanidhi into DMK on his birthday Jan 30.

If Dayanidhi had masterminded his father’s birthday celebrations, Udayanidhi too opened a website, dedicated to Stalin, on his birthday.

The website, www.mkstalin.net, contains the minister’s family details and lists his public service.

In the website Stalin urged the DMK workers not to celebrate the birthday with “fanfare”. He told the party’s youth wing to “spend the money for good cause, following the footsteps of Chief Minister Kalaignar”.

He suggested that the cadre can “give free food to students, donate blood, provide free food to orphanages and renew the DMK party flags and hoist them”.

“Politics seems to have become a part-time business for some who have floated political parties. The people should be aware of such politicians, who have emerged overnight and floated parties with selfish motives. Their aim is to become chief minister without making any sacrifice,” he added.

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