DMK to decide on new media house today


Chennai: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is to chair a meeting of the DMK Administrative Committee here Sunday, and likely on the agenda would be a search for a new media house for the DMK following parting of ways with the Sun media group.

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The unlisted item on the DMK agenda, party sources said, is likely to be action against the Maran brothers, more specifically expulsion from the party of Maran junior, Union Minister of Telecommunication Dayanaidhi Maran, over the violence in Madurai on Wednesday in which three people were killed.

Disciplinary actions are not on the agenda and it is unlikely that any reprimand will be handed out to M.K. Azhagiri, Karunanidhi’s elder son, whose supporters last Wednesday went on rampage causing the death of three media persons in Madurai.

Dayanaidhi Maran left Chennai Saturday and is holed up in a Maran business guesthouse in the resort town of Udhagamandalam.

The buzz here is, before he left Chennai, he had handed in his resignation to DMK president M. Karunanidhi and was told he (Karunanidhi) was “not a post office” and that Maran should hand over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself.

Kalanidhi Maran, whose Dinakaran newspaper is being blamed by the DMK for Wednesday’s violence in Madurai, and whose Sun Television group is being shunned by the DMK, flew out to Geneva and the USA early hours Saturday.

Even as the DMK, one of the biggest and oldest parties in India, is without a captive media house, Sun media – one of the biggest media businesses in South India, is looking for a patron.

The Marans are not likely to veer towards DMK’s arch rival J. Jayalalitha, though she too is holidaying in the Nilgiris.

Politically motivated, the Sun group has always rivalled the AIADMK’s Jaya TV. The Madurai attack on the Dinakaran changed that, with Jaya TV giving the incident huge coverage.

The second generation of Marans have not been quite happy with DMK’s politics, reluctant to give coverage to Vaiko, M.K. Stalin (the chief minister’s younger son) and other Dravidian leaders.

The PMK, always a political fence-sitter and switching opportunistically between alliance with the DMK and the AIADMK, has a newspaper and a television channel of its own.

Even the Communist Party of India-Marxist channel Kairali is seen by large numbers of viewers in all the four Southern states.

It is the Congress, from whom the DMK wrested power in 1967 (which it never got back since), that is in need of a media house in Tamil Nadu and the other Southern states.

Dayanidhi Maran went to the Chennai airport and did meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday evening when they were visiting, although he skipped the felicitation function for the DMK patriarch.

Rajya Sabha member and former owner of Dinakaran, K.P.K. Kumaran, is close to the Marans. He is known to often say: “No paper can be neutral. It has to be committed journalism.”

All eyes are now on the Maran brothers to see if they will give the Congress a political platform in South India, with four major language television channels in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.