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Amid Stalin flip-flop, his men beat up journalists
In a day of high drama, DMK treasurer M K Stalin, who planned and ran the Lok Sabha poll campaign, offered to resign from the party post owning responsibility for the whitewash in polls, but agreed to take it back on the counsel of his father and party chief M Karunanidhi, who instead laid the blame for the drubbing on the media.
As tempers frayed over Stalin’s resignation episode, the media came under more serious attack than Karun-anidhi’s barbs when a group of cadre owing allegiance to Stalin assaulted reporters and cameramen outside the latter’s residence. The cadre chased media personnel, forcing them to take refuge at the city Police Commissioner’s office.
First came the news from DMK camp around noon that Stalin had offered to resign from party post. He is now the treasurer, the third in hierarchy after president Karunanidhi and general secretary K Anbazhagan. He is also the general secretary of the youth wing which he helped launch.
As the news spread, slogan-raising cadre and some senior leaders gathered at Stalin’s residence, demanding that he withdraw his resignation. Meanwhile, Karunanidhi convened a meeting with the senior leadership to discuss the development.
In a few hours, DMK deputy general secretary Durai Murugan said Karunanidhi had refused to accept the resignation. The patriarch advised his son that now was not the time, and that setbacks should not dishearten a leader, said Durai Murugan. In the end, Stalin agreed not to press his resignation, he added.
Later, speaking to the media, Karunanidhi denied that Stalin tendered his resignation. “It is a lie,” he said, adding that the media was the reason for the party’s debacle. The DMK high-level committee will be convened soon to discuss the failure, he added.
Rumours suggest Stalin took the step to pre-empt his father from reconsidering the expulsion of his elder brother MK Alagiri, the former Union minister and powerful south zone convener who was expelled from the DMK for opposing Stalin’s anointment as the next president.
As the resignation episode played out, Alagiri termed it a well-scripted drama, while his son Dayanidhi Alagiri retw-eeted: “eyewash after whitewash”. Out of the party since January, he said he was ready to return if given due respect.
When asked about Alagiri’s comment of returning, Karunanidhi said he and the party has forgotten about Alagiri. Replying to his son’s allegation of it all being a drama, Karunanidhi said he no longer considered him as his son.