High-profile birthday doesn’t curb DMK strife

June 4th, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 4 (IANS) A day after Tamil Nadu observed Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s 85th birthday, the internal war in his DMK party betrays no signs of ending. Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Azhagiri has ruled out further enlargement of Tamil Nadu’s first political family.

He has publicly ticked off estranged cousins Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanidhi Maran for attempting a re-entry into the core decision making group.

“The Marans didn’t care to … acknowledge the family’s eldest. They will not be forgiven till I am alive,” Azhagiri thundered, speaking to a TV channel here.

The Marans reside less than a stone’s throw from their granduncle’s house in south Chennai. But the gulf between them appears to be only growing.

While former central minister Dayanidhi Maran was seen as his father Murasoli Maran’s successor to be Karunanidhi’s conscience keeper, Kalanidhi Maran was the guardian of the family wealth till the relentless assault on the Marans began a little less than two years ago following financial and political differences.

One DMK insider saw Azhagiri’s assault as an attack on Karunanidhi’s youngest offspring, poet and MP Kanimozhi.

With Kanimozhi’s stock in New Delhi on the ascendancy, Azhagiri has fired his first salvo “at our patriarch”, said the insider.

Another DMK leader differed.

“Kalaignar is uniting everyone in his immediate and the larger family - the state’s people. Accelerated industrial growth, sharing dais with religious leaders like Sai Baba and welcoming me and son M.K. Muthu after a stint in the opposition like prodigal sons are appreciable signs of grace,” said K. Subbu, a party-hopping politician presently ensconced in the DMK.

Congress leaders saw virtue in Karunanidhi.

“As one of the architects of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance), Karunanidhi’s vision of a united India will guide the nation regardless of the political compulsions,” said Congress legislator Peter Alphonse.

Political analyst Cho S. Ramaswamy added: “Karunanidhi is irreplaceable in Tamil Nadu’s political equation, notwithstanding allies’ grumbling following his refusal to share power with them.

“Predicting political changes by reading straws in the wind like the chief minister’s advancing age, bickering within his family, growth of actor-led political outfits is inadvisable.”

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