The most wanted commodity in Tamil Nadu these elections seems to be the votes that suspended DMK leader M K Alagiri claims to influence.
A day after MDMK general secretary Vaiko sought Alagiri’s support for his candidature from Virudhunagar constituency, it was the turn of another MDMK candidate and one each of the BJP and the Congress to call on him at his Madurai home Monday, and the Tamil Nadu Congress chief is set to follow soon.
South Tamil Nadu is where all these parties and individual candidates are waging their main battles, and where Alagiri wields his influence.
BJP state vice president H Raja, the NDA candidate in Sivaganga against finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti, said he has sought support from Alagiri who, he added, replied he would consult his supporters and decide.
Five years ago, Alagiri, then a candidate and the organising secretary of the DMK for the south districts, was instrumental in helping Chidambaram win a contentious election from Sivaganga by a slender margin. This time, Alagiri has no incentive to help his party or its allies, having been suspended because of his rivalry with his brother M K Stalin over succeeding their father, DMK president M Karunanidhi. He is particularly angry with some leaders and candidates in the south who have defected from his camp.
The MDMK candidate from Theni, K Azhagu Sundaram, approached Alagiri Monday morning. His DMK rival, Pon Muthuramalingam, was a former Alagiri loyalist who switched over to the Stalin faction after the 2011 assembly elections.
The Congress candidate from Alagiri’s home base of Madurai, T N Bharath Natchiyappan, too, was part of the queue. His party senior and sitting MP from Theni, J M Haroon Rashid, had met Alagiri some days ago.
Meanwhile, TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan said he will soon go to Madurai to meet Alagiri, who he claimed was a good friend. “It will certainly help if he supports us,” he said.