Morale in Alagiri camp at an all-time low, say party sources

The morale among followers of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s south zone organising secretary M.K. Alagiri seems to have hit an all-time-low for very many reasons, according to party insiders.

After a recent fight was witnessed in full public view between M.K. Stalin’s supporters and those owing allegiance to Mr. Alagiri, prior to the commencement of a demonstration meeting organised by the DMK urban unit in Madurai, the situation seems to have gone from bad to worse. The DMK cadres had assembled at the venue to criticise the Jayalalithaa government and the Madurai Corporation. Though it was a demonstration to pick holes in the AIADMK administration, it turned out to be a fight within the DMK, all in the presence of media and police personnel.

“What was once considered as the fort of “Anja Nenjan” (how Mr. Alagiri is called) has virtually shrunk to a small circle now,” was how a senior DMK functionary viewed the functioning of the local leader. “He has lost the sheen, which was seen by all of us prior to electioneering in Madurai and many southern districts. Probably, he is preoccupied with other work,” the functionary opined.

The DMK, which had a sizable representation in the Assembly from southern districts in the 2006-poll, was wiped off in the 2011 elections as its arch political rival AIADMK won a good majority of the seats. Though there were many factors attributed to the debacle then, the DMK high command looked at it as a personal loss to Mr. Alagiri.

Further, the campaign in the media and within the party that cadres were slowly shifting loyalty towards Mr. Stalin in districts other than Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari in the south not only irked the elder brother but also created ripples. Tempers ran high now and then within the first family of the DMK, a former MLA in Madurai, considered close to Mr. Stalin, said.

However, another former MLA, a loyalist of Mr. Alagiri, had a different view: “Our political opponents (within and outside) are still looking closely at his moves on key issues. He may look passive, but his shrewdness in winning elections in the past should not be underestimated. He has the knack of handling the cadres who have full faith in him.”

“Such controversies may look new to onlookers, but for the DMK it is not. Councillors in local bodies, MLAs and MPs elected from the southern districts are fully with Mr. Alagiri. Despite the AIADMK in power, the huge turnout for the leader’s birthday held in the early part of this year in Madurai should not be forgotten by the opponents,” he recalled.

The party high command is expected to summon functionaries from both the camps to Chennai soon and resolve the imbroglio, a party source said.