Opinions were divided among political analysts on whether Stalin would kickstart 'cult' politics in the state, which was buried after the death of J. Jayalalithaa and the assumption to the Chief Minister's office of E. Palaniswami, a low-profile leader.
Palaniswami was accessible to the people of the state, party workers and bureaucrats and even lower-level officials. This was a far cry from the heydays of M. Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa when cult politics and sycophancy were at a high in the southern state.
However, soon after assuming office, Stalin, a seasoned politician, took a different course from the one taken by his father Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa -- he announced that he is for the politics of inclusion by taking into confidence opposition parties and including members of all political parties that had elected legislators in the 13-member committee to fight the Covid virus.
Vijayabhaskar, who was the Health Minister in the AIADMK government, is also in the committee and Stalin said that the government is for taking into account the rich experience of the former Health Minister to counter Covid-19.
As the Chief Minister was taking this inclusive path, the DMK and its allies had begun to fan Tamil pride and Tamil nationalism -- typically representing the DMK and its brand of politics since the days of the anti-Hindi campaign of the sixties.
The Chief Minister first allowed parole to Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict AG Perarivalan, now serving life imprisonment. His parole followed a plea by his mother Arputhamammal that he was suffering from diseases in jail and that he needed parole.
The Chief Minister also wrote a letter to the President to provide mercy and freedom to all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
On several public platforms, DMK allies VCK and MDMK, apart from local DMK leaders, have been working up Tamil pride and seeking the release of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, under the garb of humanitarian considerations.
When the Central government cancelled the Class XII CBSE and ISC examinations, MDMK leader Vaiko -- who has been outspoken on Tamil nationalism -- said that the Tamil Nadu government should not cancel the Tamil Nadu board examinations.
Vaiko pointed out that the Union government had not cancelled the NEET and questioned the wisdom of cancelling the Class XII board examinations.
The MDMK leader alleged that the Union government is trying to implement the National Education Policy (NEP)through back door by cancelling the board examinations.
He said that under the NEP, admission to degree classes would be through entrance examinations and under NEP, marks of Class XII examinations would not be a criterion.
He said the people in Tamil Nadu should be careful about the new initiatives in the education system.
Evidently, Tamil leaders owing allegiance to the DMK are pushing for Tamil pride and thereon to Tamil nationalism even as the DMK is slowly but surely moving towards its avowed political position of Tamil centric nationalism.
This could increase the support base for Tamil nationalism and Tamil Eelam with the DMK at the vanguard of the Tamil cause.