Chennai: It may not have turned out to be as happy an 88th birthday for DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi as he might have wished. The multi-factioned feud within the veteran leader's family showed no signs of abating even on the leader's special day on Sunday, while the birthday celebrations themselves were a far cry from those of a few years past.
With photographs of MK Stalin, Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran and MK Tamilarasu prominently displayed, and eldest son MK Alagiri conspicuous by the absolute absence of his images, the various banners erected outside Karunanidhi's residence at Gopalapuram and his daughter Kanimozhi's house at CIT Colony told the story of the long-running discord within the family.
Two massive flex hoardings outside the residence of Kanimozhi, whom some partymen hailed as Karunanidhi's successor on her release from Tihar Jail, were crystal clear in what they had to say. One showed Karunanidhi and his daughter's mother, Rajathi, with garlands around their neck. The other carried pictures of the veteran leader and his favourite daughter.
The Gopalapuram posters had some of policemen on duty commenting how it seemed rather like Stalin's birthday than his father's.
Alagiri's absence from the banners and proceedings was absolute, leaving many partymen at the DMK HQ and the political meeting in the evening wondering if the quarrels had in fact been sorted out, with Stalin emerging victorious.
But sources in the party told Express that the question of succession was far from over, though a significantly large part of the leadership seems to be in favour of Stalin over Alagiri. Even then, the party leaders chose to play it safe, saying they would abide by whatever decision their chief made.