He might be unwilling to mend fences with his estranged elder brother MK Alagiri, but Stalin is leaving no stone unturned to end squabbles and disgruntlement in the party.
A semblance of unity was seen in the faction-ridden Salem unit of DMK, which has been an irritant for the high command due to the feud between Salem (East) district secretary A Raja and Salem (Central) district secretary Rajendran since the heyday of late Veerapandi Arumugam.
A close associate of Stalin, Rajendran has reportedly extended an olive branch to his long-time rival Raja following the diktat of Stalin.
Factionalism was affecting the district party unit so much that the DMK high command had even deferred appointment of officer bearers when the rest of the party districts were reorganised and party districts near doubled to 65 a few years ago.
The two district secretaries have agreed to work together, beginning with the September 18 statewide agitation against the ruling AIADMK, which Stalin would be leading in Salem.
Understandably, the mango city was not the only district where Stalin’s rapprochement plan has been put to test. Sources have it that the newly elected president has asked the functionaries in Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tiruchy and some other district units far from the state capital to fall in line or fall out.
In the same breath, second rung leaders like K Ponmudi, KN Nehru and EV Velu who were sulking since the elevation of Attur MLA I Periasamy as deputy general secretary a couple of years ago have been asked to await their turn.
The three district secretaries whose names were doing the rounds for plum posts in the DMK till a fortnight ago have been instructed to coordinate better with the secretaries of bifurcated units of their erstwhile forte. For instance, Stalin has personally intervened and calmed Nehru who has been complaining about the outreach of Thiruverumbur MLA Mahesh Poyyamozhi, a close buddy of Stalin’s son Udayanidhi.
Interestingly, winning the loyalty of almost the entire party rank and file did not suffice Stalin who was quick in even reinstating a few beleaguered party functionaries like former minister V Mullaivendan and V Karuppasamy Pandian, who turned down Alagiri’s offers and accepted Stalin’s leadership on summons from Anna Arivalayam.
A party leader privy to the change of heart in Stalin said, “Stalin can hit three birds in one stone. One, Stalin will be identified as an amiable leader, contrary to the earlier image that he was not easily accessible.
Secondly, promises of elevation and end to infighting will help coordinate poll works better during the ensuing election. Though not a major concern, absorbing detractors will deny opportunity to Alagiri to embarrass him in public.”
Perhaps, DMK treasurer Duraimurugan was right in acknowledging the fact that Stalin’s coronation happened even without a flutter or murmur, something even Karunanidhi could not achieve.