Chennai, March 20: Union minister of chemicals and fertilisers M.K. Alagiri, son of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and the lone cabinet minister from the party, delayed handing over his resignation to the Prime Minister allegedly because he was upset about not being consulted about the DMK’s decision to pull out of the government and the UPA.
The DMK had one cabinet minister and four ministers of state. Three junior ministers — S. Jagathrakshakan, Gandhiselvan and Palanimanickam — submitted their resignations on Wednesday morning. Alagiri did not accompany them. The four junior minister, Napoleon, had just returned from the US and had been delayed at the airport.
According to sources, a petulant Alagiri ticked off DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu for not taking him along to meet the President while handing over the party’s letter withdrawing support to the UPA government on Tuesday night. “I was not consulted about coming out, and now you are not informing me about meeting the President,” he had carped at Baalu. Baalu had apologised saying everything was rushed since he was suddenly instructed by Karunanidhi to hand over the letter on Tuesday night itself.
A miffed Alagiri delayed his resignation letter on Wednesday morning but later went with Napoleon and handed it over to the Prime Minister in the Parliament, DMK sources said. Alagiri told his supporters that he learnt about the pullout only from news channels. The decision to leave the UPA was taken by Karunanidhi and son Stalin.
“For the past few months Alagiri had been sidelined after Karunanidhi openly indicated that Stalin will be his successor. Ever since most of the district secretaries from south Tamil Nadu who were in Algairi’s camp have jumped to Stalin’s side. So when his ministerial berth was taken away without consulting him he felt even more let down,” pointed out a DMK MP.
In March 2011, the DMK announced a similar decision to quit the UPA after differences with the Congress over seat sharing for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
A high-level committee, of which Alagiri was a member, had been consulted then. It was Alagiri who had second thoughts after reaching Delhi with his resignation. He eventually had his father revoke the decision to snap ties with the Congress. The DMK ended up giving 63 seats to the Congress.
Alagiri felt that the immunity offered by the cabinet minister’s post had stopped Jayalalithaa from getting him arrested under some pretext like she had done with many other DMK bigwigs. His supporters fear that Alagiri and his son Dayanidhi may now be implicated in the recent murder of a confidant by another group.