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DMK sacks truant son, finally

MK Alagiri at a news conference in his Madurai residence on Tuesday. (PTI)

Chennai, March 25: Son, enough is enough.

The DMK today expelled former Union minister M.K. Alagiri for anti-party activities, finally showing the suspended leader the door after putting up with his tantrums for close to two months.

Party chief M. Karunanidhi, Alagiri’s father, said he had decided to dismiss him “permanently” for his “continued” actions against the DMK and its leaders.

“Since Alagiri had not responded to the show-cause notice sent to him after his suspension and continued to act against the DMK and its leaders, party general secretary K. Anbazhagan and I discussed the issue and decided to dismiss him permanently from the party,” the former Tamil Nadu chief minister told reporters, announcing the decision from inside his car.

Seated next to him was Alagiri’s younger brother and rival M.K. Stalin, now firmly entrenched as Karunanidhi’s political heir.

Alagiri had been suspended after he had stormed into his father’s bedroom one early morning in January and demanded an explanation for the suspension of his supporters in Madurai, his base in the south. Karunanidhi had disclosed later that Alagiri had also spewed venom on Stalin, saying his younger sibling “would die in a few months”.

The suspension had failed to rein in Alagiri as the rebellious son proceeded to provoke the leadership by accusing the DMK of selling Lok Sabha tickets to the highest bidder and meeting Opposition candidates from the BJP, Congress and the MDMK, including its leader Vaiko.

Alagiri also urged his followers to organise events across south Tamil Nadu and promised to use them as planks to defeat the DMK’s official candidates.

Earlier, in 2001, Alagiri had been “sent out” of the DMK after he had fielded rebel candidates in the Assembly elections, resulting in the defeat of many party bigwigs, including the then Assembly Speaker.

He was readmitted quietly and made the DMK’s south zone co-ordinator after he helped the DMK win a by-election by a massive margin. In 2009, he contested the Madurai Lok Sabha seat and went on to become Union minister for chemicals.

The immediate provocation for today’s axe was the bevy of non-DMK Lok Sabha candidates lining up to meet Alagiri at his Madurai residence. They included candidates from the Congress, with which the DMK fell out last year, and H. Raja, who will take on Union finance minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti in Sivaganga.

Among the others who dropped in were Vaiko, Stalin’s bete noire, and MDMK candidates contesting from the southern districts.

The DMK leadership saw this as a show of open defiance aimed at undermining the DMK’s official candidates, most of whom have been chosen by Stalin. “Alagiri had issued a diktat to his supporters to work for the defeat of all the 10 DMK candidates from the south and he was even making a big show of it by entertaining Opposition leaders. Our leader decided enough was enough and decided to cut off all ties with him,” said a senior DMK MLA.

DMK sources said Alagiri’s expulsion wouldn’t have any major impact on the party as most office bearers had shifted allegiance to Stalin in the last two years. “Only riff-raffs and some anti-socials are around him and they will only have a negative impact,” said a DMK functionary.

Upset over Vaiko’s meeting with their leader, two close confidants of Alagiri had reported at the DMK headquarters today to express their support to the party leadership.