For a state used to cutthroat political rivalries between larger-than-life personas—MGR versus Karunanidhi, followed by Jayalalitha versus Karunanidhi—2021 was shaping into a half-hearted scrap devoid of a doughty duel. DMK’s M.K. Stalin sat pretty, relishing the disarray in the opposite camp, confident of grabbing power after ten years.
Everything, indeed, had fallen in place for 67-year-old Stalin—a planned succession, his elder brother’s challenge snuffed out, total control of the DMK established by ensconcing seniors in top positions, while promoting son Udhayanidhi unabashedly. The DMK’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2021 assembly elections was in a happy place.