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Is she the DMK's rising star?
May 27, 2007 15:19 IST
For a person who vehemently shunned the political spotlight despite being brought up in a family closely associated with it, her sudden entry into public life should have come a shocker.
But for 39-year-old Kanimozhi, poet and daughter of Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi, her new role seems a natural transition, though she has always been content with literary and intellectual pursuits.
It is Kanimozhi who is now being projected as the party's New Delhi emissary in the wake of Dayanidhi Maran's sensational exit from the Union Ministry and the sudden turn of political fortunes.
With speculation rife about Karunanidhi's youngest and favourite child's nomination to the Rajya Sabha -- elections for which are due in June-end -- and the possibility of her being given a ministerial berth, Kanimozhi, until now a reluctant player in Dravidian politics, is the DMK's emerging star.
Shy, self-deprecatory and soft-spoken, Kanimozhi, daughter of Rajathi Ammal, Karunanidhi's third wife, had shied away from the limelight despite her father's growing political stature in Tamil Nadu, quietly admiring his literary skills, acumen and leadership qualities.
Having inherited some of his literary talents, she devoted her time to writing poetry soon after completing her Masters in Economics from Ethiraj College for Women in Chennai and like Maran, she is quite at home speaking in English.
Karunanidhi, too, had been content to allow his daughter pursue poetry and creative arts, reserving political ambitions for his son M K Stalin, who, according to sources close to the DMK chief, would take over the party reins.
Among his six children, the DMK patriarch doted on Kanimozhi, always finding time for her in between his hectic administrative schedule or while running a massive political party.
He saw his daughter as his true literary heir and recently, proudly acknowledged the fact at a folk art function, Chennai Sangamam, authored by her.
Kanimozhi, he said, had his poetic ability, literary craving and love for Tamil language and the ability to work hard.
But there was no indication or even a hint of any political aspiration for his daughter.
Even if her views on taking the political plunge had changed over the years, Kanimozhi, too, preferred to fall in line with her father's wishes and stick to her literary pursuits.
But, Chennai Sangamam was seen as her first attempt to test political waters.
With her father drawing flak for issuing a government order giving financial support for his daughter's art initiative, the 'Sangamam' effort was tinged with controversy.
However, it was Maran's dramatic ouster from the Central and DMK politics that forced Ms Kanimozhi to re-think her position, party sources said.
While Karunanidhi himself had chosen to remain silent on the political role for his daughter in the post-Maran scenario, the media kept speculating on the possible portfolios she was likely to get, including Home and Commerce.
But flooded with calls from media representatives, all Kanimozhi would tell them 'it's too early to say anything now'.
Even during the early days of the deteriorating relationship between the Marans and 'MK brothers,' there was much conjecturing about Kanimozhi replacing Maran as the DMK's Delhi lobbyist.
Sharing a good rapport with her brothers, there was much talk before the Maran episode blew up that they were keen on Kanimozhi playing a larger role in Delhi if only to neutralise Maran, their 'common enemy'.
But with Karunanidhi quite taken in by his grandnephew's performance in the capital, it seemed remote then that Maran would ever fall out of his granduncle's favour.
Today, Kanimozhi appears all set to take the political plunge. But Karunanidhi appears a bit apprehensive.
Having shielded her all these years from political arclights, he fears his daughter would earn flak if recommended to the Union Council of Ministers, right away with the media turning the spotlight on her as the possible 'reason' for Maran's exit.
But with her brothers giving the green signal, Kanimozhi's political appointment is only a matter of time.