Inner squabbling in DMK seems far from over

Within days of an apparent gesture of reconciliation in the first family of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the party’s south zone organising secretary and Union Minister M K Alagiri criticised the party leadership on Thursday, indicating that internal squabbling may not have ended.

Shortly after greeting newly appointed office-bearers who had come to seek his blessings from the Madurai urban and Theni districts, Mr. Alagiri told mediapersons here that candidates recommended by him for various posts in the party units had not been considered.

“As the south zone organising secretary, when my word had not been given due respect, how will the district secretaries from the southern districts take my advice or obey my orders,” he asked. The reference was to appointment of office-bearers in various wings, including the youth wing, in Madurai and other southern districts and the remarks were apparently directed at his younger brother and party treasurer M.K. Stalin and party president M. Karunanidhi.

Mr. Stalin had recently met Mr. Alagiri at the latter’s residence here, following which senior functionaries felt relieved that factionalism involving loyalists of the brothers may have taken a backseat.

Further, Mr. Karunanidhi had also made an emotional appeal for unity after Union Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam went public with his differences with T.R. Baalu, MP.

At that time, Mr. Stalin had declined to divulge what he had spoken with his brother. Mr. Alagiri did not name his brother or father directly, but indicated that he was not happy with the developments within the party on the appointment of office-bearers.

‘Projects dumped’

As a Minister and the elected representative of Madurai Lok Sabha, Mr. Alagiri said, he had established Anna University (Madurai) for the welfare of students pursuing higher education and even got funds sanctioned from the State government then for new buildings. Similarly, steps were taken to open a granite polishing unit in Melur, near here. But, this government (AIADMK) had dumped them all; kept them in cold storage or wound them up for political reasons.

On fertiliser prices, he said, “My Ministry has taken steps to ensure that the prices remain static and there is no rise… The proposal for fertilizer subsidy is still under active consideration of the Union government.”

Palanimanickam tenders apology

Special Correspondent from Chennai writes:

Union Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam has apologised to DMK president M. Karunanidhi for his public outburst against senior leader and former Union Minister T.R. Baalu. He wrote a letter on October 23 and it has been published in the party organ Murasoli.

The apology came after Mr. Karunanidhi reprimanded him in the party newspaper for violating party discipline and going public against another senior leader.

In his letter, Mr. Palanimanickam said he was ashamed of the fact that he had made Mr. Karunanidhi sad.

“You are a father figure to me and still I made you sad. Till my last days I will not create any problem for you and the party.” His apology brought the curtains down on a controversy

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State V. Narayanasamy called on Mr. Karunanidhi and discussed the proposed expansion of the Union Cabinet and the coming Parliamentary session.

Though there were reports that the DMK was seeking a portfolio change for its Minister of State S. Jagathratchagan, who is in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, party sources scotched the suggestion.

“When our leader has made it clear that we would not seek additional berth in the cabinet, where comes the question of change of portfolio,” said a senior leader.

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