Actor Udhayanidhi Stalin, the son of DMK working president M K Stalin, who is being panned by critics for the prominence being given to him on party platforms, has sought to defend his political role claiming that he has always been in politics.
“I have always been in politics. I have campaigned for my grandfather (DMK president M. Karunanidhi) and my father in the elections. But people notice me and talk about my presence in politics because I have acted in films. Cinema proved to be an added advantage,” Mr Udhayanidhi told The Hindu.
He said he could not avoid politics as he was born into a political family. “Can I join some other political party? I have not asked for any post in the party or sought ticket to contest elections. I have received a lot of attention and some people could not stomach it,” he contended.
Mr. Udhayanidhi rejected the argument that he had the advantage of being the grandson of the party leader and the son of the working president. “There are disadvantages. A person who sincerely does party work would get recognition. But in my case I will always be seen as scion of the political family and any recognition would be attributed to my family connection and not my work,” he argued.
Mr Udhayanidhi said if family connection indeed had an advantage his father M.K. Stalin would have been the leader of the party long ago.
‘Not given ticket’
“His rise in the party happened slowly and after decades of hard work. He was elevated as the working president, not because he is the son of the party leader. It was also said that I would be made the youth wing leader after my father’s elevation. But nothing happened. A few people filed nominations on my behalf in the Thousand Lights Assembly constituency (in 2016). But I was not given a ticket,” he said and added that he wanted to climb the ladder in the party organisation through hard work and dedication.
Asked about the posters published in some parts of the State portraying him along with the pantheons of Dravidian movement, Mr. Udhayanidhi said, “Some overenthusiastic supporters released these posters. But I condemned them and threatened to cancel the programme if they failed to remove the posters. I do not have the qualification to be among the (tall) leaders. I have personally called them to remove the posters.”
Mahesh Poyyamozhi, the deputy secretary of the DMK’s youth wing, said the party was only utilising Mr. Udhayanidhi’s popularity. “His entry should be welcomed. I know he is not encouraging sycophants and dissuaded people from giving special attention to him,” he said.