The DMK on Wednesday warned its party workers against hobnobbing with suspended leader M K Alagiri in a bid to keep its cadre together ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Irrepressible as ever, Alagiri, the Madurai strongman and elder son of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, hit back at the party by opposing the candidature of former Union telecom minister A Raja, blaming him for the 2G spectrum scam, which he said eventually led to the DMK’s loss in the 2011 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.
His main target, however, was fierce rival and younger brother M K Stalin with whom a showdown during the Lok Sabha election looks inevitable. The DMK had suspended Alagiri in January and eventually denied him party ticket for the general elections for his persistent attack on Stalin, the heir apparent to Karunanidhi.
The present action came close on the heels of damaging comments Alagiri made during a meeting two days ago with his sympathisers in Madurai, where he charged the dominant Stalin faction with usurping the party and sidelining Karunanidhi.
“….The party cadre have been strictly directed not have any contact with Alagiri. Those going against this stern instruction, too, will face disciplinary action,” party general secretary K Anbazhagan said in a statement on Wednesday.
Incidentally, the censure is almost a reproduction of a diktat against Alagiri that was issued about 14 years ago.
In September 2000, Anbazhagan had ordered the DMK workers to keep off Alagiri after the rivalry between the factions headed by the two brothers intensified, leading to a series of clashes on the streets of Chennai and elsewhere. However, it was the organisation that suffered the most, with the party losing the Assembly elections of 2001. Alagiri was then welcomed back and allowed to play a more significant role in party affairs.
Strengthening rumours that he had preferred to remain in alliance with the Congress, Alagiri has said Karunanidhi came under pressure from a section within the DMK. The lack of unity would cost it heavily in the election, warned Alagiri, adding that his supporters were urging him to teach the DMK a lesson. He, however, has rejected the charge that he was working against the DMK and claimed he only sought to highlight and rectify the issues within the party.