Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin (born 1 March 1953) is an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu and the opposition leader in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly since 25 May 2016. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi.
M.K. Stalin was placed 30th on the list of India’s Most powerful Personalities in 2019 by the Indian Express.
Early life and family
Stalin is the third son of 2nd Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK Chief M. Karunanidhi, and was born to his wife, Dayalu Ammal. Stalin was born in Madras, now Chennai, on 1 March 1953. Karunanidhi was addressing a condolence meeting for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who died only four days after his child was born, and thus decided to name his son after Stalin.
Stalin studied at the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School. He completed a pre-university course at Vivekananda College, and holds a history degree from Presidency College, Chennai of University of Madras. M. K. Stalin was conferred Honorary Doctorates by Anna University on August 1, 2009.
Stalin got married to Durga (alias Shantha) on August 25, 1975 and has two children. His son is Udhayanidhi Stalin.
His political career began when, as a 14 year old, he campaigned in the 1967 elections. In 1973, Stalin was elected to the General committee of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
He came to limelight when he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) for protesting against the Indian Emergency in 1975. He wrote his final year BA exams while in prison. Stalin formed the DMK youth wing. In 1982 Stalin became the youth wing secretary of DMK, a post he held for more than four decades.
Stalin contested the Assembly polls unsuccessfully from Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai. In 1989 Stalin contested Assembly polls from Thousand Lights Constituency again, but won this time. But the DMK government got dismissed in 1990 before completing its full five-year term. He contested for the third time from the same Assembly constituency, but lost to the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa. Again in 1996, Stalin won the election as an MLA from the Thousand Lights constituency.
In 2011 Stalin changed his constituency for the first time in his political career, moving from Thousand Lights to Kolathur constituency on the outskirts of Chennai city, if barely.
Mayor of Chennai
Stalin became the city’s first directly elected mayor in 1996. He privatised conservancy operations in the city and constructed nine flyovers and coined a pet project called Singara Chennai (Beautiful Chennai). Stalin was reelected mayor in 2001. However, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa enacted the Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws (Amendment) Act, in 2002, which prevents a person from holding two elected posts in the government. This law was applied retroactively to Stalin’s case (he was elected Thousand Lights MLA) in a move widely seen as aimed at removing him as Chennai’s mayor. However, the Madras High Court struck down the law stating that legislative bodies were not “prevented” from making laws affecting the “substantive rights” of persons retrospectively. However, the court held that under Madras (now Chennai) City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919, a person cannot be mayor for two consecutive terms, though unlike Stalin, earlier mayors were not directly elected. Stalin did not appeal in the Supreme Court.
Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu / Rural Development Minister
Stalin became the Minister for Rural Development and Local Administration in the Government of Tamil Nadu after the 2006 Assembly elections. On 29 May 2009, Stalin was nominated as Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by Governor Surjit Singh Barnala.
On 3 January 2013, Karunanidhi named Stalin as his heir apparent, thus ending a long time confusion about who would take over the party reins after Karunanidhi’s death.
During the 2016 Assembly election, Stalin went on a statewide tour and underwent a sartorial makeover, shunning the usual DMK dhoti and white shirt. He sported trousers and a t-shirt to inspire the youth. Stalin won the Kolathur constituency and was appointed as the opposition leader.
2019 General election – Secular Progressive Alliance
M.K. Stalin formed the Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu under United Progressive Alliance and led the alliance in 2019 general election.
MK Stalin and his alliance in Tamil Nadu won 39 out of 40 Parliament seats, and 12 out of 21 in the Assembly by-election, with 52% of the vote. Its his first victory since taking charge as DMK President.