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'Jayalalithaa conspiring to split DMK'

The DMK youth wing secretary, M.K. Stalin, consoling T. Kiruttinan's son, K. Tholkappian, at Kompukaranathal in Sivaganga district, where the former Minister's funeral was held on Thursday.

The DMK youth wing secretary, M.K. Stalin, consoling T. Kiruttinan's son, K. Tholkappian, at Kompukaranathal in Sivaganga district, where the former Minister's funeral was held on Thursday.  

MADURAI MAY 22. The DMK youth wing secretary and MLA, M.K. Stalin, has accused the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, of "conspiring" to split the party by politicising the murder of the former Minister, T. Kiruttinan.

"Instead of investigating the case from different angles and apprehending the real culprits, the police have arrested my brother, M.K. Azhagiri, in haste. This move only reflected the intention of the Government to derive political mileage out of the issue."

In a statement issued soon after paying homage to the slain party functionary at Kombukkaranendal in Sivaganga district this morning, Mr. Stalin contended that office-bearers of the Madurai district and city units were chosen in an "amicable manner" after consultations with Kiruttinan, Azhagiri and himself. The DMK president and the general secretary were involved in the exercise of organising the party polls "on a give-and-take basis" in other districts.

Describing Kiruttinan as an "eminent leader", who represented the grievances of the people in Parliament and Assembly, he said the "saviour of democracy" was done to death by his "enemies". He regretted that the AIADMK Government, which was "yearning for a split in the DMK", was "diverting the attention" of the cadres, using the tragedy for political gains. He appealed to the cadres to unite to achieve the objectives for which Kiruttinan stood.

Mr. Stalin, who returned from the U.S. around midnight last night, rushed to Madurai to pay his last respects to a trusted friend and loyalist.

Mr. Stalin's statement has caused "disappointment" to his loyalists, but they realise that he could not have taken an independent line at this juncture. They know he always fell in line with the leadership. They, however, would be following the developments closely. At least one immediate repercussion was felt today — another Stalin loyalist, V. Karuppasamy Pandian, withdrew from the contest for the post of district secretary in Tirunelveli. Party sources here said the "polarisation" was becoming more visible.

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