The beleaguered leader’s writ runs no more
The 25-year-long political roller coaster ride of M. K. Alagiri seems to have been halted by the disbanding of Madurai urban district unit of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and his father M. Karunanidhi’s comments on party indiscipline.
Though he came to Madurai in 1980 to take care of the local edition of ‘Murasoli,’ Mr. Alagiri plunged into active politics in the 1989 Assembly election when the DMK won 36 of the 64 constituencies in the nine southern districts.
When Vaiko parted ways to form the MDMK, it was Mr. Alagiri who kept the flock intact, despite the crossing over of seniors, including Pon. Muthuramalingam. His constant interaction with party workers brought him closer to the rank and file.
The 1996 Assembly election – which the DMK won – saw many Alagiri loyalists getting party tickets. The downswing started in 2000 when partymen were warned against having any truck with Mr. Alagiri on the assumption that he prevented functionaries from attending the annual ‘mupperum vizha.’ His supporters torched a few buses in Madurai in anger.
In the 2001 election, Mr. Alagiri’s supporters openly campaigned against leading candidates, including P.T.R. Palanivel Rajan. Some contested in the name of Alagiri Peravai. The DMK got a drubbing and PTR lost by 708 votes.
But the Alagiri camp got an upper hand in the local body elections. His field work in the Andipatti by-election translated to Vaigai Sekar of the DMK getting over 30 per cent of the polled votes (against Jayalalithaa). But the murder of former Minister T. Krishnan in Madurai in May 2003 put Mr. Alagiri and his supporters in the dock.
He was again in the limelight when the DMK alliance won a majority of seats in the south in 2006. Subsequently, he was made organising secretary of southern districts. Acquittal in Krishnan murder case came in May 2008 and Mr. Alagiri won the Madurai Lok Sabha seat in 2009 to become Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.
However, the euphoria generated by successive by-election victories, including the infamous Tirumangalam, did not last long. The DMK was routed in the 2011 election and it lost all the 10 seats in Madurai district. In the Madurai Corporation election, the DMK nominee stood fourth in Mr. Alagiri’s ward.
In 2012, his Man Friday, ‘Pottu Suresh,’ was hacked to death. In between, there was a series of cases and raids. Recently, AIADMK councillors of the Madurai Corporation decided to press for re-assessment of all his property for a higher tax levy.
Today, the beleaguered leader’s writ no more runs from Madurai to Tirunelveli. It ends at Tirupparankundram.