MDMK presidium chairman S. Duraisamy on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, quit the party, culminating a face-off with the leadership over the prominence of Durai Vaiko, son of party leader Vaiko, in the party.
“I am quitting primary membership and relinquishing other responsibilities in the party,” Mr. Duraisamy told mediapersons in Tiruppur.
There is no more need to sustain MDMK, Mr. Duraisamy said, pointing out that the contestants from the party had to enrol as DMK members as a pre-requisite to contest in the Parliamentary (2019) and Assembly elections (2021). They were fielded on the DMK’s ‘rising sun’ symbol.
Mr. Duraisamy who had earlier dared the party leadership to take action against him for advocating merger of MDMK with DMK, said he will retire from political life, but not public life.
“I will continue to propagate the ideals of Anna (Annadurai) and Periyar (E.V. Ramasamy),” Mr. Duraisamy said, claiming he was the only surviving Dravidian politician, who was a member of the DMK during its formation in 1949 by Anna.
“I have written to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to convert the house in which Anna lived at Nungambakkam in Chennai into a memorial.”
The decision of the senior leader to quit the party comes in the wake of vitriol unleashed against Mr. Duraisamy by local party functionaries supportive of Mr. Durai Vaiko.
Meanwhile, Mr. Vaiko said it was strange that Mr. Duraisamy, who was against an alliance with the DMK in the 2021 Assembly election, was advocating merger of the MDMK with the DMK now. “He did not work in the election and advised others not to do the field work. Still, we won. Nobody is going to believe his allegations against the MDMK,” he told reporters in Chennai, when asked about Mr. Duraisamy’s announcement.
Asked why he was favouring a merger with the DMK, Mr. Vaiko alleged that Mr. Duraisamy was locked in a dispute over the control of a building of the Marumalarchi Labour Front. “He may think that the DMK may intervene in the case. But I do not know of the details,” he added.
On the allegation that he had made his son Durai Vaiko the headquarters secretary, Mr. Vaiko clarified that he was always against his son entering politics. “But he [Mr. Durai Vaiko] started working with the partymen during the COVID-19 pandemic and attending their family functions. They wanted him to be included in the party and I suggested a secret ballot; 104 out of the 106 office-bearers voted in his favour,” he said.
Mr. Vaiko said the party’s financial accounts were regularly audited and submitted at the general council meeting. “No one can question my integrity,” he said, adding that the party laws had also allowed the general secretary to sign the cheques.