Chennai, Jan 24 (IANS) The dragging sibling rivalry in the DMK Friday took a serious turn as it announced the suspension of former union minister M.K. Alagiri, son of party leader M. Karunanidhi.
The “temporary suspension” comes ahead of the DMK’s state conference in Tiruchirapalli next month. Political analyst Gnani, however, told IANS that this was “as good as a permanent expulsion”.
DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan said Alagiri was creating confusion in the party ranks and criticising the disciplinary action taken against some colleagues for “anti-party activities”.
He said the continuation of Alagiri in the party was not proper and would destroy discipline. So, he said, Alagiri had been “temporarily suspended”.
“The members should accept this decision taken in the interests of the party and should stand united,” Anbazhagan said.
Alagiri, 62, son of DMK president M. Karunanidhi, 89, is against his brother M.K. Stalin, 60, being elected to the party’s top post.
The Alagiri-Stalin rivalry has plagued the DMK for a long time, with Karunanidhi managing to keep a fragile peace.
But with Stalin’s growing clout in the DMK, one of India’s oldest political parties, Alagiri has stepped up remarks obliquely critical of his brother while avoiding any direct criticism of Karunanidhi.
Stalin was the Chennai mayor in 1996-2001 and 2001-02. He was also the deputy chief minister in 2009-11.
On Jan 7, Karunanidhi warned Alagiri and others that the party would act against those who defy the official line.
He said such action could include removal from primary membership of the party.
In a recent interview, Alagiri, the organising secretary of the DMK in Tamil Nadu’s south zone, had opposed an alliance in the Lok Sabha election with the DMDK party of actor Vijayakanth.
Alagiri’s opposition came after Karunanidhi advocated the alliance. A miffed Karunanidhi had termed Alagiri’s views regrettable and condemnable.
The DMK chief also said that decisions on electoral alliances were taken by the party’s executive and general council or other relevant bodies.
In recent times, the DMK has taken action against Alagiri supporters in Madurai, considered a Alagiri stronghold.
Political analyst Gnani told IANS: “The temporary suspension is as good as permanent expulsion. The temporary suspension shows that Alagiri’s clout within the Karunanidhi family has gone down.
“All these days Alagiri had the support of the party high command and hence was able to pull some strings. Now it is the party high command that is throwing him out.”
According to Gnani, the party was in the “firm control” of Stalin and that Alagiri may be able to make any impact.
Gnani does not expect the DMK to make Stalin its top leader immediately.
The DMK, born in 1949, first took power in Tamil Nadu in 1969, and again in 1971. It returned to power in 1989 and later in 1996 and 2006.