Like a well-scripted Mollywood flick, or a page out of the chapter called pass-on-the-baton-mistah of Indian democracy, Alagiri fumes day after Karunanidhi ignites sibling scrap by batting for Stalin in DMK’s succession issue
Shantanu Datta | January 4, 2013
It could well be said the sign of the times. With the republic inching closer to its 64th year, the old guard is yielding to the new. But since most Indian political parties have hardly followed democratic model jotted down by the republic’s father in that voluminous tome called Indian Constitution, the seat of power is passed around within the family.
So yet another son-rise, and yet another sibling scrap in the making. Like a well-scripted Mollywood flick, or a page torn out of that chapter called pass-on-the-baton-mistah of Indian democracy, the stage is set for another round of bhai-giri.
This time in Tamil Nadu, with party boss M Karunanidhi on Thursday anointing younger son Stalin as his heir, and elder son Alagiri losing no time in rising up in revolt.
Predictably, the plot is as old as the script of independent India’s politics itself. Among the protagonists in recent past have been Mumbai strongman Bal Thackeray passing the baton to son Uddhav, with nephew Raj withdrawing from the Shiv Sena race and forming his own party, and Pune strongman Sharad Pawar doing the same with his daughter Supriya Sule and in the process irking nephew Ajit Pawar, the Maharashtra deputy chief minister, to get into a sulking shelf.
Chennai strongman Karunanidhi is, thus, only following a well-laid-down diktat by political satraps: pass it on to the chosen one.
But as Bollywood tells us, the one passed over does not give up easily — he swears vengeance, mouths lines like ‘maa kasam, badla loonga’, sings a sad song or three and swears again to come out stronger before the official swearing-in (in case you missed the first vow).
So trust Alagiri, a union minister in the UPA government whom not many hear in Delhi since he frequents Chennai airport all too frequently, to rise up in revolt. “DMK is not a (religious) mutt,” Alagiri reportedly shot back when reporters asked him at the Chennai airport on Friday to seek his reaction to Karunanidhi’s statement that Stalin would succeed him, the PTI reports from Chennai.
Ever since Stalin, 59, was given prominence in the DMK and elevated as deputy chief minister in 2009, there have been indications that he will succeed Karunanidhi. The clearest hint toward this scripted succession came on Thursday, when, addressing party workers, the 88-year-old former Tamil Nadu CM said, “I will work for the cause of uplift of the society till death. So for the question who after me, the answer is Stalin, who is sitting amongst you and you should not forget it.”
But Alagiri, the Madurai strongman and two years elder to Stalin, had a couple of months ago made no secret about his unhappiness over selection of party functionaries on home turf, particularly in the youth wing led by Stalin.
The lone exception to this sibling rivalry plot seems to be Rahul Gandhi, who has shown little interest, even enthusiasm, in taking up the mantle despite everyone eager to pass it on to him. But, then again, as Bollywood never tells us, sometimes son-rise is postponed because the son refuses to rise in the way-too-overcast horizon.
So let the battle begin, Mollywood style.
She is tall, skinny and dark-complexioned. She sports a tattoo of lines and dots on her forehead, as if displaying a hieroglyphic text. Her neck is laden with beaded jewellery and a thick, rusted iron chain while the ears are pierced at two spots. The white sari draped till her knees contrasts with green a
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