Prince Charles now stands in solitary splendour. M.K. Stalin, who used to keep him company as the prince in perpetual waiting, finally stepped up to become king as he led the DMK to a convincing, though not unexpected, win in Tamil Nadu. Stalin’s final promotion as chief minister had been held back only by two persons—his political rival J. Jayalalitha and his father M. Karunanidhi, who refused to proclaim him as CM candidate in 2016.
Armed with a comfortable majority, unlike in 2006 when his father was taunted for heading a minority government (with outside support), the 68-year-old Stalin can stride confidently to provide an efficient government on his own terms. He has promised much, including a seven-point vision document for Tamil Nadu for the next decade and a host of populist promises that need to be fulfilled. But the constraints—financial and administrative—of fighting the second wave of Covid may hamper his start. In fact, he had talked of battling a public debt of Rs 5 lakh crore left behind by the AIADMK government.