TAMIL NADU CM M K STALIN: THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE WHO WANTS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
On March 1, 1953, in Chennai, M K Stalin was born as the third son of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK strongman M. Karunanidhi and his wife Dayalu Amma.
Stalin studied at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School. He completed his pre-university course at Vivekananda College and obtained a history degree from Presidency College, Chennai of the University of Madras in 1973.
His political career began in his early teens when he started the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Gopalapuram Youth Wing from a tea shop with several friends. As a 14-year-old, he campaigned for his uncle, Murasoli Maran, in the 1967 elections. In 1973, Stalin was elected to the General Committee of the DMK. Stalin formed the DMK youth wing, too. In 1982, Stalin became the youth wing secretary of DMK, a post he held for more than four decades. Stalin later became the city’s first directly elected mayor in 1996.
Stalin’s political career has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Initially, he failed to win from the Thousand Lights constituency but later he won the Assembly polls in the year 1989, and in 1996 he won the seat again. For the first time in his political career, Stalin changed his constituency in 2011 and moved to the Kolathur constituency of Chennai.
In the 2006 Assembly elections, the DMK regained control of the state Assembly, partly due to M K Stalin’s efforts. Stalin became the Minister for Rural Development and Local Administration in the Government of Tamil Nadu. During his tenure, he developed his skills as an administrator, helping to strengthen self-help groups in the state.
Stalin was the 37th Mayor of Chennai from 1996 to 2002 and the first Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 2009 to 2011. During his tenure as Mayor, he strived to improve the standard of corporation schools in Chennai and succeeded in his efforts. When he was the Deputy Chief Minister in 2006, the development of rural areas in Tamil Nadu was one of his focus areas.
On January 3, 2013, Karunanidhi named Stalin as his successor, thus ending a long era of confusion about who would take over the party’s reins after Karunanidhi. On August 28, 2018, he was elected unanimously as the DMK chief after Karunanidhi passed away.
M K Stalin formed the Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu under the National United Progressive Alliance and led the alliance in the 2019 general election in the state and won 39 out of 40 Parliament seats.
Stalin also led the campaign for the Secular Progressive Alliance in the 2021 Assembly elections. On May 7, 2021, Stalin took his oath as the Chief Minister along with the rest of his cabinet. In a survey by the Indian Express, he was placed 30th on the list of India’s Most Powerful Personalities in 2019.
Firefighting Covid-19 for over six months till now, he has shown how he is different than his predecessors. His team has hit the ground running as soon as they took charge on May 7th to contain the second wave of Covid-19. Prioritising the tackling of the pandemic over celebrations of returning to power after 10 years and giving it precedence over everything else has been a perfect sign of Stalin’s way of leadership. Drawing on his father’s legacy of upholding the importance of mother tongue, he took oath as ‘Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin’ instead of ‘M K Stalin’ as he was introduced by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Able Administrator and Champion of Women’s Rights
He privatised conservancy operations in the city and constructed nine flyovers and coined a pet project called Singara Chennai (Beautiful Chennai), lauded for improving Chennai’s infrastructure. Only because of his great work, the vast city of Chennai today experiences fewer traffic jams compared to other cities.
“I will defend you not only as a Chief Minister but also as a father,” Stalin remarked on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, sending a strong message. He also advised the victims against taking extreme steps such as terminating their lives.
Instead, he advised, they should fight to bring the criminals to justice. He stated that criminals would be prosecuted regardless of their position, social standing, or influence. The State Child Policy 2021 was established with the goal of ending violence against women and children.
Even during the floods that had affected Tamil Nadu this time, M K Stalin worked as a common man rather than the supreme leader and worked towards people’s welfare, making sure that they got all the essential amenities, especially food.
The name M K Stalin always builds curiosity among people and the interesting story behind the name is that when Karunanidhi was addressing a condolence meeting for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who died only four days after his child was born, he decided to name his son Stalin. M K Stalin tied the knot with Durga on August 25, 1975, and has two children Senthamarai and Udhayanidhi Stalin, who is an actor and politician.
The DMK’s 68-year-old leader has now ushered in a healthy political culture of inclusivity by treating opposition leaders with respect and consulting them on problems, a trait not seen in Tamil Nadu politics in decades. Let’s hope he will continue to fight for the common people who voted for him with hope and trust.