Alagiri-factor might cost high for DMK in south Tamil Nadu
Expelled DMK leader and former Union minister M K Alagiri’s rebellious stance is threatening to rock the electoral fortunes of the M Karunanidhi-led party which is facing an acid test from rivals like the ruling AIADMK and the BJP-led NDA in the April 24 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu.
Alagiri’s revolt, which was initially perceived to be a war of succession raging within DMK’s first family to decide on Karunanidhi’s political heir, snowballed into a major crisis after the party suspended him, accusing him of
breaching discipline. DMK has now finally expelled Alagiri from the party.
Alagiri, Karunanidhi’s elder son, was locked in an open political struggle with his younger sibling MK Stalin for control over DMK’s affairs.
And, much to the chagrin of Madurai strongman Alagiri, Stalin won the succession race, apparently with the blessings of Karunanidhi.
Alagiri went against the DMK leadership over his opposition to its decision to snap ties with Congress and pull out its ministers from the Union Cabinet, of which he was also a part.
DMK’s decision to suspend Alagiri, who wields considerable influence among DMK cadre in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu, thinking it would force the rebel leader to mend fences with the party, however, rather worsened the situation.
Alagiri not only embarrassed his father by calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and reportedly expressing his displeasure at DMK having walked out of the Congress-led UPA alliance, but the rebel leader also met BJP President Rajnath Singh.
Affectionately addressed as ‘Anja Nenjan’ (man with a brave heart) by his supporters, Alagiri has also praised BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He has now been giving sleepless nights to the DMK leadership after engaging in consultations with his supporters to chalk out his future political map with the options including one for floating a new political outfit.
Enraged over the continuing revolt by Alagiri, the DMK high command has made it clear that it will not be amused by partymen hobnobbing with him and warned of disciplinary action against those who contacted him.
Known to be a charismatic leader, the 63-year-old Alagiri has been a pillar of strength for the party and was also its face, especially in southern Tamil Nadu.
The latest development, which has seen leaders of Congress, BJP and DMK making a beeline for Alagiri’s residence to seek his support in the upcoming elections, has sent shockwaves among the DMK leadership.
DMK leaders are apprehensive that if Alagiri worked against the party, it could suffer irreparable damage in the polls, as was evident in 2001 when it crashed out of power with AIADMK registering a massive win in the Assembly polls.