CHIEF Minister KK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi joins his father’s cabinet as a minister. The 45-year-old, an MLA and movie star, who heads one of South India’s most influential film companies, will be sworn in on December 14, an auspicious day in the Tamil calendar.
Udhayanidhi, who represents Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni in the Assembly, is likely to be given portfolios such as youth care, sports development and implementation of special programs.
While Udhayanidhi’s induction as a minister had been long anticipated, his film commitments at Red Giants, his production company that controls a significant portion of the business in South India, delayed it.
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A senior DMK minister said that having a cabinet portfolio is a full-time job. “We used to be critical of MGR (matinee idol and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran) for playing the dual role of Chief Minister and superstar. We didn’t want Udhayanidhi to go through the same thing,” the minister said, adding that Udhyanidhi’s most recent film is in post-production.
December 14 is the penultimate day of the auspicious Tamil month of Kartigai and Udhayanidhi will be sworn in at 9:30 am, an official statement said. Although Stalin claims to be an atheist in line with the DMK’s rationalist ideals, Udhayanidhi, his mother Durga Stalin, and Stalin’s influential son-in-law Sabareesan are all believers.
Incidentally, Stalin himself had to wait in the shadows for a long time before his father and DMK patriarch, the late M. Karunanidhi, allowed him to rise through the ranks, holding a ministerial portfolio for the first time only in the late fifties. Two relatives told The Indian Express that Udhayanidhi’s mother did not want her son to “suffer the same fate”.
While Udhayanidhi was hesitant to accept responsibility as he already has a lot on his plate, they said: “She was adamant that he should not be forced to wait until his late 50s or 60s to take up a major position in politics. to take.”
Another senior family source, involved in DMK and state government affairs, said the calculation was that there was no point in waiting, and that if there was a backlash against the dynastic succession in the party, Udhayanidhi might as well confront it now instead of later. “Udhayanidhi will be held accountable even if he takes up this position after 10 years. Let him face it now,” the source said, noting that the other branches of the Karunanidhi family are now well established in their roles, including Kanimozhi as the face of DMK in Delhi.
Stalin’s elder brother MK Alagiri, who once launched an open rebellion against him, is now out of the picture.
According to another party source, the DMK had also been guided by the Congress. “The defeat in the 2014 general election would not have been so severe, and the party’s position in 2022 would have been much better if Sonia Gandhi had appointed Rahul Gandhi to the UPA cabinet in 2009,” the source said. adding that Udhayanidhi had already chosen the first step by being elected to the Assembly.
Like how Stalin learned under Karunanidhi as prime minister and later deputy prime minister, in 2009–2011, sources said there would be a senior secretary who would teach Udhayanidhi the ropes. Party leaders give the example of IAS officer Ashok Vardhan Shetty, who is credited with implementing many of the effective strategies behind DMK schemes under Karunanidhi’s government, especially in Stalin’s portfolios.
On the plans for Udhayanidhi, including getting his office ready, a senior DMK minister said, “Numerous sports-related development projects have already been announced by us. In addition, 234 sports complexes are being built in the state, and Udhayanidhi will visit all of them. He will travel from Nagapattinam to Krishnagiri and Tiruvallur to Kanyakumari. He will preside over all celebrations and sporting events such as Jallikattu during the Pongal celebrations.