A day after his expulsion from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagtam (DMK), M.K. Alagiri, former Union Minister and elder son of the DMK patriarch, M. Karunanidhi asserted on Wednesday that he will not rest until rectifying all the anomalies in the party and “save the Kazhagam (party)” and Karunanidhi from the clutches of a unilaterally functioning “so-called high command”.
“For no fault of mine, why should I be punished…I did nothing wrong,” Mr. Alagiri told The Hindu in Madurai shortly before leaving for Chennai, even as representatives from National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties in the southern districts continued to call on him to seek his support in the coming election to the Lok Sabha. Some of them even hailed him as a ‘King maker’.
Among the early callers on the Madurai strongman was the MDMK candidate from the Theni constituency, Alagusundaram. He later told reporters, “Mr. Alagiri would ensure my victory in the election”. Similarly, the MDMK’s Tuticorin and Tenkasi constituency candidates also paid a visit to Mr. Alagiri and sought his blessings.
The former Union Minister’s supporters in Madurai said that he would continue to tour the districts, including Thanjavur.
In that constituency the DMK has fielded another former Union Minister, T. R. Baalu, ignoring the claims of party veteran S.S. Palanimanickkam, making the choice contentious. Mr. Alagiri planned to go to Thanjavur on April 2, and then visit other places.
On the other hand, DMK functionaries opposed to Mr. Alagiri, stoutly defended the decision to expel the latter from the DMK. “Mr. Alagiri has been suspended in the past….but this kind of action had come only now. This shows that the Treasurer, M.K. Stalin is the next leader in waiting,” the pro-changers asserted. “The outcome of the Lok Sabha polls does not matter much to us at this juncture. We will gear up for the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections,” the party functionaries defending the dismissal of Mr. Alagiri explained.
In Theni, DMK Lok Sabha candidate and party veteran Pon. Muthuramalingam said, “In no way the intra-party feud would affect my prospects. The DMK party high command had taken the decision and expelled Mr. Alagiri. That’s the end,” he summed up.
Later, in a brief media interaction at Chennai airport, Mr. Alagiri again made clear that he will not be contesting the forthcoming election. The DMK had already denied him a ticket as he was earlier suspended two months ago.
In Arani, subsequently, where he visited the home of the 82-year-old M.K. Elumalai, an old-time DMK functionary and his loyalist, Mr. Alagiri virtually ruled out floating a party of his own and reiterated that he would legally challenge the DMK high command’s decision.
“I am not MGR. I am still a DMK man. I have rights in the party and would not float a new party,” shot back Mr. Alagiri to queries in this regard by reporters. “Those who initiated my expulsion and their supporters will face action in a few months; I would not say what kind of action it would be like,” said Mr. Alagiri.
The DMK MP J.K. Rithish was accompanying him. On which party he would urge his supporters to vote for in the coming polls, Mr. Alagiri said that he would decide on that after consulting his supporters in all the districts. On the way to Arani from Chennai, Mr. Alagiri visited the Anna Memorial, on the outskirts of Kancheepuram, put up by the DMK to mark the birth centenary of the late DMK leader C.N. Annadurai.