Alagiri’s supporter joins AIADMK

Ramanathapuram MP J.K. Riteesh, a loyalist of the former DMK strongman, M.K. Alagiri, met Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence here on Thursday and joined the AIADMK.

He claimed that he informed Mr. Alagiri before meeting Ms. Jayalalithaa, but the former Union Minister denied any knowledge of the development.

Speaking to journalists , Mr. Riteesh blamed DMK treasurer M.K Stalin for pushing him out of the party.

“Mr. Stalin has retained only his followers in the party. Many loyalists of DMK president M. Karunanidhi have left the party, and the remaining will also meet Ms. Jayalalithaa soon and join the AIADMK,” he said. He said he had informed Mr. Alagiri of his decision to join the AIADMK. Meanwhile, speaking to The Hindu on the phone, Mr. Alagiri said there was no truth in Mr. Riteesh’s claim that he was aware of his meeting with Ms. Jayalalithaa. “If anyone says so it is false.”

‘Nothing can weaken me’

Asked whether the Ramanathapuram MP switching loyalties would affect his faction, Mr. Alagiri said he never cared about people who left him. “Nothing can weaken me. My supporters will always stand by me.”

However, a source close to Mr. Alagiri said he was upset at the development. Only a few days ago had Mr. Riteesh arranged for a grand reception for Mr. Alagiri at Mudugalathur.

“Some of Mr. Riteesh’s supporters have been asked to meet Mr. Alagiri on Friday to show the world that his supporters have not deserted him,” the source said.