Succession war in DMK: Stalin's supporters attack Khushboo
Her residence here was vandalised by a mob today. At that time, Khushboo was attending a marriage function wherein some people tried to harm her. On her way to the Trichy airport, she came under attack again as footwear was flung at her.
The actress who joined the then ruling party before Tamil Nadu went to the polls in 2011 and even became its star campaigner incurred the wrath of Stalin loyalists after a Tamil magazine Vigatan published her interview. Khushboo told the weekly that Karunanidhi's successor is still to be decided.
Her averment irked Stalin's supporters as his father had recently hinted that he would be the next party chief. MK Alagiri, the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertlizers, had reacted to this by pointing out that DMK is not a religious body to choose its head beforehand. Since Stalin and Alagiri are known to share cold vibes, the latter's statement made national headlines.
For years, Karunanidhi was reluctant to explicity name either of the warring brothers as his heir apparent. He knew their sibling rivalry could sound the party's deathknell. Alagiri was therefore allowed to run the party in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu while Stalin was given the responsibility for the northern and western parts of the state.
Nevertheless, the DMK patriarch has of late openly indicated a preference for Stalin. On more than one occasion in the past few months, Karunanidhi has stated that his younger son would be succeeding him. It is not as if the 89-year-old is unaware of Alagiri's unhappiness. He seems to believe that Stalin is best suited to lead the party.
Probably influenced by his way of thinking, most of the second-rung leaders of DMK are now aligning with Stalin. Only a few of them were to be seen at Alagiri's 62nd birthday celebrations in Madurai on Jan 30. According to political observers, the uncrowned king of Madurai has liitle option but to reconcile his dreams with the reality.
Whether the rift in the DMK's first family can be healed peacefully is doubtful. Till that happens, perhaps the party's functionaries and members should keep mum on the issue. There is a saying - Silence is golden. Khushboo's present woes show just why it is better to say "No comment" sometimes.