The drama in DMK’s first family continues to play out with Treasurer M.K. Stalin seeking to rise above, and dismissing comments made by his brother M.K. Alagiri about his death. “I don’t want to take seriously what Alagiri has said. I don’t want to make it a big issue. Anyone born will have to die some day,” Mr.Stalin said.
Mr. Alagiri had met his father and DMK president M. Karunanidhi on January 24 to make a case to revoke the suspension of five DMK men from Madurai, who put up posters hailing Mr. Alagiri, and depicting him as the central figure in the DMK. The posters had offended Mr. Stalin, who now runs the party for all practical purposes, and the five were suspended. In a fit of rage, as he is often given to, Mr. Alagiri told Mr. Karunanidhi that Mr. Stalin would die in three-four months. Soon after the exchange, Mr. Alagiri was suspended. Mr. Karunanidhi revealed to the press on Tuesday this comment made by Mr.Alagiri.
Most towns across Tamil Nadu burnt effigies of Alagiri through Tuesday night, taking cure from an incident of effigy burning in Chennai. On Wednesday, Mr. Stalin asked the cadre not to burn his brother’s effigy.
Describing the burning of Mr. Alagiri’s effigies as an “emotional act” by party cadre who were hurt, Mr. Stalin said that such acts would, apart from “providing fodder to the media” to write in a degrading manner about the DMK, also make people hate the party.
A DMK source said that a show-cause notice had been sent to Mr. Alagiri asking why action could not be taken against him for his continued anti-party activities. Mr. Alagiri also said that he had heard about the move. “Does that sound like a compromise to you,” he asked the press. In the absence of any intervention from the senior leadership in the DMK to secure peace between the warring brothers, it appears that Mr. Alagiri is on his way out of the DMK.
The main peace-maker in the party, Arcot Veerasamy, is not keeping good health. The other senior leader, Ko.Si. Mani, too is infirm. Another with persuasive skills, Veerapandi Arumugham, is no more. That leaves former Minister Durai Murugan, who, for personal reasons, will not want to be the deal maker. Party general secretary K. Anbazhagan will not be the truce-broker because he is tasked with taking disciplinary action. Mr. Alagiri has found some support within the party, but this is negligible. Mr. Alagiri has said that he would announce his plan of action on Thursday, when he addresses cadre on the occasion of his birthday. DMK has organised a meeting in Chennai on the same day, in which top leaders, including Mr. Stalin, will talk about the upcoming Tiruchi conference.