The party also stripped Alagiri, South Zone secretary, of all party posts for violating party discipline.

The former Union Minister, M.K. Alagiri, an influential face of the DMK in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, has been suspended from the party and relieved of his posts for violating party discipline.

“His continuation is inappropriate as it will further disrupt party discipline,” a statement from general secretary K. Anbazhagan said here on Friday.

Mr. Alagiri, who till Friday was the south zone organising secretary — a post created to accommodate him — is capable of wrecking the party’s chances in any poll. He demonstrated this in 2001, fielding rebels which led to the defeat of senior leader P.T.R. Palanivelrajan in Madurai by a thin margin and spoilt the chances of many other candidates in the region.

The party, aware of Mr. Alagiri clout, had so far sought to play it safe. Though he was expelled, he was soon rehabilitated. To placate him, he was given positions of authority — appointed south zone organising secretary and then made MP and Union Minister.

Asked whether the present decision would affect the DMK, party president and Mr. Alagiri’s father M. Karunanidhi said it would not. “His post will not be given to anyone as it was created for Alagiri,” Mr. Karunanidhi told presspersons.

The announcement of suspension came after Mr Alagiri met his father in the morning. Mr. Alagiri, who had gone abroad, rushed back to Chennai when he was made aware of some developments against him in the party on Thursday evening.

Mr. Alagiri confronted Mr. Karunanidhi and reportedly told him that he was placing undue faith in his younger son, M.K. Stalin. Then, he went on to make a comment that agitated Mr. Karunanidhi, one source with knowledge of the developments said. That was the last straw.

On his part, Mr. Stalin, who now controls the party for all practical purposes, said the DMK would take action against anyone who worked against it. Speaking to presspersons at the Chennai airport, he denied any rift with his older sibling.

Though Mr Alagiri earlier strongly criticised the action taken by the DMK leadership against those who were labelled as “betrayers,” it was his comments against DMDK leader Vijayakant that led the party to do some serious firefighting. Mr Alagiri said Mr Vijayakant lacked political decency.

The DMK, desperate for a tie-up with the DMDK in the coming Lok Sabha polls to put up a fight, warned Mr. Alagiri of serious consequences if he spoke out of turn about alliances.

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