On Sunday, the highway to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s mega occasion convention on the Trichy freeway was dotted with occasion flags and larger-than-life cut-outs of Dravidian motion leaders — E V Ramasamy popularly often called Periyar, C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi and present president M Ok Stalin. In addition to them, it was solely the occasion’s youth wing secretary, and MK Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi Stalin who shares the limelight along with his father in two big cut-outs, a mirrored image of the rise of DMK’s third technology, notably in Trichy.
Trichy evokes nostalgia inside the DMK, as residence to 10 different such mega conferences of the occasion previously — however this was the primary presided by Stalin after his father, M Karunanidhi, died in August 2018. On the assembly, Stalin recalled that DMK held its first assembly in Trichy in 1956 below Annadurai the place the essential resolution to enter electoral politics was taken. DMK fashioned the federal government in 1967. “Trichy confirmed us the way in which,” mentioned Stalin on the grand venue arrange throughout 35-acres.
This time, Stalin selected the district to unveil his 10-year-vision for Tamil Nadu. This included ballot guarantees of ₹1,000 for girls heads of family each month, a million jobs and broadband connectivity for villages. Explaining the rationale of the venue for key bulletins, a DMK chief mentioned, “Trichy is a bridge between north and south Tamil Nadu, and making main bulletins right here helps for cadre to be mobilised and in addition to for the message to succeed in folks throughout the state.”
Stalin directed the cadre to be up on their ft and take a vow repeating after him that the DMK will run a authorities that’s for everybody in a clear, corruption-free method. “No person can defeat the DMK if this reaches folks. Take my imaginative and prescient to crores of Tamil Nadu folks earlier than April 6 (polling date within the state),” Stalin instructed his cadre on the occasion, which was organised by DMK’s principal secretary and Tiruchirappalli West constituency MLA Ok N Nehru and district secretaries, with ballot strategist Prashant Kishore’s Indian Political Motion Committee (I-Pac) tasked with roping in distributors and micromanaging the occasion.
Additionally Learn | Kamal Haasan’s MNM alleges DMK has copied its ballot guarantees
Trichy is a mixture of a contemporary district, a enterprise hub with a number of small industries, working alongside the Cauvery delta the place farming is a main occupation; it additionally has a number of schooling establishments. It was right here that a big section of Congress cadres shifted to the DMK when it entered electoral politics. “DMK enjoys good help within the district for the approaching elections, however the problem is how Stalin would handle the friction that’s inside the DMK leaders in Trichy,” says Ramu Manivannan, head of political science division within the College of Madras.
As principal secretary, Nehru is quantity 4 within the pecking order within the DMK’s organisation however his strongman standing as Tiruchirappalli district secretary, which he has held for 3 many years, is being challenged inside his occasion from the rising clout of youthful leaders reminiscent of Udhayanidhi Stalin and his shut aide Thiruverumbur MLA Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi. Mahesh’s grandfather, Anbil Dharmalingam, performed an necessary position in DMK’s development in Trichy and was a detailed affiliate of Karunanidhi. Following Nehru’s elevation to the occasion headquarters in Chennai in 2018, the DMK trifurcated Trichy and Mahesh was appointed as one of many three district secretaries.
Each Nehru — whose son is vying for a ticket — and Mahesh obtained excessive reward from Stalin on the occasion, which he claimed was five-times the dimensions of DMK’s earlier conferences. The DMK chief’s assertion is being seen as an try to take alongside each the outdated guard and the brand new technology. The venue was arrange like a rock live performance with three levels, enveloped by 500-feet lengthy LED screens, fireworks and a DJ blaring DMK’s marketing campaign track. Stalin waved to the crowds strolling on a one-kilometre ramp designed just like the DMK’s rising son image. Nehru adopted him on the ramp.
Nevertheless, the loudest cheer from the cadre was reserved for Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi. The audio system on the occasion have been continually interrupted by the noise from his supporters and, at one level, an announcement was made asking Udhayanidhi to manage them. Some staff from the youth wing even started climbing on one of many levels the place Udhayanidhi was seated together with MP Kanimozhi and different legislators. “Udhayanidhi and Mahesh are very shut and the kids take into account them as ‘mass’,” mentioned a Trichy DMK cadre G Arumugam. Within the native lingo “massl is a standing attributed to actors and politicians who’ve the next of the lots. Udhayanidhi entered Tamil cinema as a producer and distributor for Crimson Large Motion pictures and performed the position of a hero in a number of movies earlier than making a full swap to politics. He is likely one of the star campaigners of the DMK camp.
Trichy has 9 meeting constituencies — Tiruchirappalli East, Tiruchirappalli West, Thiruverumbur and Srirangam, Manapparai, Lalgudi, Manachanallur, Musiri and Thuraiyur (reserved) — of which DMK has 4 MLAs and 5 others have been elected from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in 2016. Late AIADMK Supreme and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was elected from Srirangam constituency in 2011 and had mentioned that her ancestors lived there.
DMK staff mentioned that the district had historically supported the occasion, besides within the 2011 meeting elections when AIADMK got here to energy as DMK was dealing with fees within the 2G-spectrum rip-off. Accusations of cash and muscle in opposition to Nehru, who was additionally former transport minister, noticed him lose in Trichy West in 2011 to the AIADMK’s Mariam Pitchai. However in 2016, Nehru gained. Within the 2019 election, senior chief S Thirunavukuarasar gained the Tiruchirappalli parliamentary seat for the Congress.
“After ten years, it will be good to have a change of management within the state. Possibly they (DMK) will help us in our angst in opposition to value hikes in gasoline and greens,” mentioned a waiter S Selvakumar close to the Trichy tollgate. Final month, Nehru, Mahesh, and different native leaders spearheaded a protest in opposition to the gasoline value hike and charged that the AIADMK copied DMK’s waiver for schooling loans, crop loans and schooling loans. However there are additionally different voices. The district has seen inward migration of younger folks from different districts looking for higher job alternatives. “I belong to Tirunelveli the place my household historically votes for the AIADMK and I’ll do the identical,” mentioned Ok Harish who helps his brother in working a small artifacts store.
DMK’s historic edge in Trichy offers the occasion a head begin within the 2021 polls, however the politics of the district additionally displays the factionalism and generational divide within the state. How the occasion manages its alternative and potential challenges will form its prospects.