In the final leg of marketing campaign for the April 6 Tamil Nadu election, a ‘son’ is rising within the ranks of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK, whose ballot image is the rising solar. Party chief MK Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi Stalin, has made nationwide headlines as he attacked two BJP stalwarts – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
“PM Modi and Amit Shah target me. That is why I target them,” Udhayanidhi Stalin told NDTV.
After Amit Shah, in a campaign meeting in the state in March, asked people whether they wanted to see development of Tamil Nadu or of Udhayanidhi Stalin, implying that voting for the DMK was tantamount to voting for dynasty politics, the young leader responded with a sharp counterattack.
Referring to Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah’s role in the cricket body BCCI and alleged tax evasion, Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “I’m asking Amit Shah, I’ll write all of the property in my identify, (and) switch it to Jay Shah. Will Jay Shah be keen to switch all his property in my identify?” he requested, alleging that Jay Shah’s belongings have grown a number of instances over in the previous couple of years.
Udhayanidhi Stalin additionally gave a stinging response to PM Modi’s assault through which he had mentioned there was a crown prince within the DMK and that many senior DMK leaders have been feeling sidelined with the “crooked” rise of the actor-politician. Udayanidhi mentioned Mr Modi had turn out to be Prime Minister after marginalising a number of senior leaders. He took the names of LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Yashwant Sinha and others.
Mr Stalin even alleged that Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj had been “mentally tortured” by Narendra Modi and that had pushed them in direction of their finish.
Daughters of each these leaders tweeted refuting his allegations.
The Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, in the meantime, has complained in opposition to Udhayanidhi Stalin.
“They have asked that I should not be allowed to campaign and that I should be disqualified. This could even be my last meeting. So, if that happens, will each of you become Udayanidhi Stalin and campaign for the DMK?” he asked the crowd at a public meeting, striking an emotional chord. He also clarified he had not meant any insult to either Arun Jaitley or Sushma Swaraj.
The younger Stalin is making his electoral debut on April 6. He is contesting Chennai’s Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency, which has been a DMK bastion.
He, however, has been in public life for a while now. He is a film producer, distributor, and most importantly from the public point of view, an actor. He has played the lead in at least a dozen films starring opposite popular leading ladies like Hansika Motwani and Nayantara. In 2013, he won Filmfare’s Best Male Debut award, which was incidentally presented by actor-politician Khushbu, who is the BJP candidate from Chennai’s Thousand Lights constituency.
Udhayanidhi Stalin had on several occasions ruled out his joining politics, saying he wanted to focus on his acting career. However, in 2019, he was appointed as the leader of the party’s youth wing after MK Stalin became the working president of DMK.
Though he initially showed reluctance in joining politics, he has been one of the star campaigners for DMK. Many say he is more conversational, engaging and articulate than even his dad.
His Don Bosco School and Loyola College education and his onscreen experience render him an aura and endear him to the masses.
At public meetings addressed by the 42-year-old, children, young girls appear to be enthused with his presence. In one such meeting, a child gave a peck on his cheek, enthralling the audience. The child went on to recite poetry and sang praise of the party.
It is not clear if such displays of affection are planned, but they definitely add to the movie star persona of the politician. With the challenges he is throwing to the senior most politicians, he also appears to be placing himself several notches higher than other debutants.
Mr Stalin seems to be projecting himself as a leader who can challenge the BJP-led centre. After Income Tax raids on his sister Senthamarai and brother-in-law Sabaresan – who many call the main strategist in the family – on Friday, Udhayanidhi mocked the NDA government. “I’m Udhayanidhi Stalin, the grandson of Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi). Those sorts of scare-tactics may match with the AIADMK leaders, it will not work with us… the I-T raids have given DMK free publicity,” he said.
On dynastic politics charge, Udhayanidhi says: “Let the individuals of Chepauk (his constituency) resolve on that. I’m telling them, have a look at my report card, not my beginning certificates.”
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