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The rise and fall of Dayanidhi Maran
Ajitha Karthikeyan in Chennai | May 14, 2007 14:06 IST
From a young shy businessman to a high-profile Union minister, the rise of Dayanidhi Maran has been meteoric. And so has his fall been.
Until three years ago, he was under the shadow of his better-known businessman brother Kalanidhi, who was successful in building on his own a powerful media empire in the South.
Dayanidhi was taking care of his brother's cable network company and some of the Group's publications.
In 2003, the DMK was dealt a severe blow in the death of Union minister Murasoli Maran, who was the face of the DMK in New Delhi and was said to have acted as the conscience of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.
When the party was looking for a suitable replacement to liaise and coordinate with Delhi, the DMK chief's first choice was Murasoli Maran's first son Kalanidhi.
However, when he turned it down citing his business commitments, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Dayanidhi to step into his father's shoes.
All of a sudden, the young Maran was in the limelight when he was fielded as DMK candidate for the Central Chennai constituency, represented by his late father, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
With his sophisticate looks and designer clothes, he stood apart from the rest of dhoti-clad politicians and presented a new image to the public.
Being convent-educated, he initially found it difficult to address voters in Tamil and it was his uncle and Karunanidhi's heir apparent M K Stalin who spearheaded his election campaign.
However, after taking over as Union IT and communication minister, Dayanidhi never looked back and took everyone by surprise with his remarkable transformation.
He not only went on to become the party's national face, outshining seniors like T R Baalu and A Raja, but also turned out to be one of the star campaigners for DMK in the 2006 Assembly elections.
He soon took the centrestage along with his granduncle Karunanidhi -- be it the latter's Delhi visit or a local function.
With the image of dynamic tech-savvy Minister, he brushed shoulders with industrial and IT giants across the globe, including Bill Gates, and was instrumental in brining in investments worth billions of dollars to the country in general and to Tamil Nadu in particular.
Notwithstanding his success as Union minister, his political inexperience and abrasive behaviour came to the fore sometimes, causing embarrassment to Karunanidhi and senior party leaders.
His open challenge to MDMK Vaiko in local Tamil slang at a mammoth election rally last year in the presence of alliance party leaders, prompted an embarrassed Karunandihi to mildly chide him for his behaviour.
Dayanidhi's certain comments and snubbing of senior leaders like Durai Murugan in public also caused heart burning in certain quarters.
The importance and publicity given to Dayanidhi in his family-run Sun TV, Tamil daily Dinakaran and other publications, while blacking out M K Stalin and his Madurai-based brother M K Azhagiri further widened the rift between Maran brothers and Karunanidhi's sons.
The Dinakaran's latest opinion poll on who should be Karunanidhi's successor turned out to the last straw putting an end to Dayanidhi's brief political career, at least temporarily.