M.K. Stalin won an emotional and legal battle on behalf of his father Karunanidhi when the Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu government to permit the burial of the DMK Chief on the Marina Beach.
The verdict comes as a shot in the arm for Stalin’s leadership and would strengthen his position as the chosen successor to Karunanidhi. Stalin converted a setback, after the TN government refused the Marina spot, into a victory by mounting an immediate challenge. “It was not just an emotional decision for him to bury his father next to his political mentor Anna, but also a test of his leadership to prove that he is a fighter like his father. Stalin passed both the tests admirably,” observed a senior DMK MLA.
After the EPS government offered a burial spot near Rajaji Memorial, ten kms away from Anna memorial, near which Stalin and other DMK leaders had sought permission to bury their leader, Stalin immediately instructed his party’s lawyers to seek legal recourse to overcome the obstacle. A two judge bench of the HC that heard the DMK’s petition seeking the Marina spot through the night and early on Wednesday morning rejected the TN government’s contentions and asked it to immediately allot a spot near the Anna memorial and prepare it for burial.
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No wonder when the verdict reached him Stalin, who had bottled up his emotions till then, broke down and wept openly having scored a decisive win against the AIADMK government. The visuals of this emotional moment and his being consoled by his sister Kanimozhi and other DMK leaders will be remain etched in the minds of DMK cadres, who would not hesitate to give him all the credit for getting the right resting place for Karunanidhi.
DMK leaders say that obtaining the burial spot through a judicial order was also more appropriate to the memory of Karunanidhi, a leader of the self-respect movement, since otherwise it would have been viewed as a gift from the AIADMK government. The important win in his father’s memory would also place Stalin on solid footing in case his leadership is later challenged by his elder brother M.K. Alagiri, who anyway has been sidelined after his expulsion nearly two years ago.
According to state BJP leaders who accompanied Prime Minister Modi, the PM had during his conversation with Stalin and Kanimozhi expressed his satisfaction that the chosen spot had been approved by the court. In fact the Prime Minister waited at the helipad to learn about the HC orders before proceeding to Rajaji Hall to pay his last respects to Karunanidhi.
The EPS government could have avoided the humiliation and even looked magnanimous if it had agreed to the DMK’s request initially. Instead its obstinacy only resulted in getting a legal slap from the courts.