Nearly a month after the death of late M Karunanidhi, his elder son M K Alagiri Wednesday organised a rally in Chennai to assert his power in DMK. Challenging M K Stalin, party president and his younger brother, Alagiri claims that majority of Karunanidhi’s followers are with him. Alagiri was removed from the party in 2014 for ‘anti-party activities’.
Even though Alagiri (Azhagiri in Tamil) had earlier claimed that the rally would be attended by at least one lakh people, a leading face in his camp told The Indian Express that they expect not less than 10,000 people today.
Alagiri and his supporters will march from Triplicane police station before noon to Karunanidhi Samadhi on Marina beach, where the leader will pay respects to his late father. No public meeting or speeches are planned.
“He is unlikely to make an announcement or declaration. He will meet the press later to say that he will take his next decision after consulting his cadres across the state,” a source said.
Majority of the people in the rally are from southern Tamil Nadu, including Madurai city, Madurai district, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and Dindigul areas. “They are all DMK men having no powers or who lost powers over the years,” the source said, adding that no counsellors and MLAs of DMK are expected. A party functionary who received Alagiri in Chennai on Tuesday was removed from the party by Stalin.
Other than Alagiri and his son Dayanidhi Alagiri, Mannan, a former deputy mayor of Madurai city, will be the leading face in Wednesday’s rally. Attack Pandi, a staunch loyalist of Alagiri who is now in Tirunelveli prison for killing Pottu Suresh, another Alagiri loyalist, will be missing from today’s rally.
Alagiri loyalists in districts mobilised people for the rally and arraged vehicles for them to reach Chennai last night and this morning. From the Chennai region alone, they are expected between 500 to 1000 people.
At least 1,000 police personnel have been deployed along the route today. A Teachers’ Day function of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, scheduled to take place this morning at an auditorium, was postponed to later in the day due to the rally.