No welcome arches, banners and hoardings on city roads

Welcome arches, banners and hoardings in different sizes, usually visible to greet Union Minister and DMK south zone organising secretary M.K. Alagiri ahead of his birthday, are missing now.

The 62 birthday of the “Anja Nenjan” (as he is fondly called by his cadre) falls on January 30. Whenever the DMK was in power, the followers celebrated it in a grand manner, bringing normal life in the city to a grinding halt.

After the AIADMK assumed office in 2011, the events to mark Mr. Alagiri’s birthday were organised in a kalyana mandapam situated along the Madurai-Ramanathapuram highway last year. This time around, the venue is the Raja Muthiah Mandram here.

Earlier, the city’s walls were customarily painted red and black. The enthusiastic party men would dig up roads to lay welcome arches and put up big banners proclaiming their leader in choicest words. Annadhanams were served in marriage halls.

But the fizz is missing now.

Party men are attributing unexpected developments within the first family in recent days as the main reason for the low-key celebration of the minister’s birthday. They also said that cases foisted against Mr. Alagiri’s son, Durai Dayanithi, in connection with the multi-crore granite scam lowered spirits further. Only after the court intervened, things started looking up for the family.

Welfare assistance

Mr. Alagiri, during a recent interaction with media persons, had said that whether in power or not, he had immense satisfaction in giving away welfare assistance to the needy, especially, on his birthday. “I have been doing this from time immemorial,” he noted.

To mark the 62 birthday, the party cadre have planned to give away sewing machines to 2000 beneficiaries, distribute sarees and dhothis to over 15,000 persons. Already, blood donation camp and a district level cricket tourney are under way to mark the leader’s birthday, which was inaugurated by Mr. Durai himself.

Though there was no confirmation, party men hoped that the minister’s younger brother M.K. Stalin and sister Kanimozhi would be present to greet him. The officials from Union Fertilisers and Chemical Ministry are here to greet the minister tomorrow, a senior DMK functionary said.

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