Alagiri’s relationship with party always on roller-coaster ride

Facing disciplinary action is nothing new to M. K. Alagiri, former Union Minister and son of M. Karunanidhi. His suspension from the party comes days ahead of birthday on January 30 which is seen as a major rallying point of cadre in the southern districts.

In September, 2000, the party high command asked party cadre not to have any truck with him after three district secretaries, at his behest, boycotted the Mupperum Vizha organised by the DMK.

The boycott was a culmination of protest by office-bearers of the Madurai urban and rural units. They resigned en masse in protest against the denial of a Rajya Sabha ticket to the then district secretary, Mr. C. Kaverimaniam, a strong Alagiri loyalist.

When DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan made the announcement in 2000 against Mr Alagiri, he appealed to partymen not to be perturbed by the decision of the party leadership. His supporters reacted strongly and torched seven buses, besides damaging two more.

The relationship between Mr Alagiri and the party leadership has always been on a roller-coaster ride. At one point he declared that he would distance himself from party affairs.

Again, in 2001, he played spoilsport for a few of the DMK’s leading lights and also openly worked against the party in the local body elections. He was placated and brought back.

In fact, Mr.Alagiri’s problems within the party coincided with the rise of his brother M. K. Stalin in the party’s ranks. Mr.Stalin was appointed to head the youth wing, Mr.Alagiri did not object. Then again, when he was given the Thousand Lights seat to contest the Assembly polls too in 1989, he was not unduly perturbed. But Stalin rose in stature and authority after he was elected Chennai Mayor in 1996. Mr.Alagiri waited for his chance to respond, and his chance came in 2000.

Instead of making him pay for his folly, the DMK leadership chose to reward him. For a while, things were back to normal and he gradually asserted his position and won by-elections for the DMK in the southern districts. His way of approaching voters and winning the by-election to Tirumangalam Assembly constituency became a formula. The victories secured him the post of south zone secretary of the party.

In 2009 he contested from the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency and on his election he became a Minister in the Congress-led UPA alliance.

The downswing began early this month after he openly aired his views on a probable alliance with the DMDK to a television channel. His overenthusiastic supporters put up posters all over Madurai hailing him. They were, in fact, the first to face the brunt of party action. The party on January 9 suspended P.M. Mannan, member of the executive, S. Ezhilmannan, general council member, Mubarak Manthiri, Anbarasu Ilango and M. Balajid and relieved them of their responsibilities.

In his statement on Friday, party general secretary K. Anbazhagan said he took action against these five persons as they had sought to create an impression that the DMK was riddled with casteism and supporting the attempt to invoke the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against their own partymen to give vent to their ire.

“They were suspended from the party and Mr Alagiri strongly criticised their action and indulged in unnecessary arguments,” Mr Anbazhagan said.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National