Sibling rivalry that caused upheaval in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) first family almost to the point of wrecking the party took a new turn. MK Alagiri, the challenger in estranged elder brother of DMK president MK Stalin and expelled leader, threw in the towel in a stunning U-turn and pleaded to be re-inducted into the party. Within just few days of his bravado of breaking the party and making his younger brother Stalin pay for ousting him, Alagiri realised that was easier to make threats than to carry them out. Clearly, he was not ready for the cold shoulder by the party cadres in his own stronghold of southernTamil Nadu.
Read Opinion | Stalin has electoral, political and ideological mountains to climb Although there are some crowds of people visiting him, key DMK leaders ignored him and avoided to be seen in his company, especially after a strict warning by the newly elected party president Stalin not to have anything to do with his elder brother. Stalin reminded the cadres that it was his father, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, who had expelled his elder brother for anti-party activities. Alagiri had within a week of his father’s death in early August mounted a challenge to his brother and made noises to the effect that the leadership issue was an unsettled issue. Alagiri too staked his claim to be the party leader, which of course had no takers from the party. Stalin was the chosen political heir of Karunanidhi and the DMK leaders blindly accepted his leadership with no conditions attached. Stalin was anointed as the new DMK president on August 28 at the party’s general council that also elected senior leader Durai Murugan as the party treasurer, a post till then held by Stalin. It was decided on that day itself that the party will officially ignore Alagiri and not respond to any of his statements or antics. Now, Alagiri discovered to his chagrin that his writ did not run even in his own fiefdom anymore. But, for maintenance sake he stuck to his belligerent threats that without him the DMK would faceserious trouble.
Read Opinion | As new era dawns in DMK, Stalin faces new challenge But in stark contrast to this aggression, maintaining that his Chennai rally would be a real show of strength, Alagiri pleaded to be re-inducted into the party and accepted to work under the leadership of Stalin. He told media persons on Thursday, “If I have to join DMK, I have to accept Stalin’s leadership”. He insisted that he wanted to join the DMK to save it, but was wary of his attempts would be fruitful. True to his doubts, the DMK leadership made it very clear that taking him back into the party was out of the question. Sources close to Stalin told News Nation that “this chapter is closed.” Party sources said that if Alagiri was allowed inside, he could wreck it from within and this is not a chance that the party can take when it was preparing to take on the AIADMK in the two byelections and readying for the crucial 2019 general elections. “It is not a risk that anyone in his right mind will take,” said a political analyst who described Alagiri as a spent force. More so, after former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa smashed the entire team of henchmen of the DMK southern strongman, Alagiri and had the rowdy and goonda elements, eliminated.
Read Opinion | DMK Succession War: Alagiri mounts challenge against Stalin for Karunanidhi’s political legacy Shorn of supporters and strongmen from whom Alagiri drew strength to exercise his power, his influence thinned considerably.
Simultaneously, his brother Stalin had over the past two years since he became the working president after their father Karunanidhi fell ill, had replaced all the Alagiri men with his own in district party set up. Although Stalin may have been formally elected as DMK chief two days ago, he was the party boss for all practical purposes. It was Stalin who was responsible for the 2016 poll strategy as also selection of candidates. The narrow loss to the AIADMK is something that Alagiri taunts his brother with, saying that “Stalin, as working president was neither a president nor, was he working”. Political analyst Suman C Raman felt that the U-turn by Alagiri sounded very suspicious. If one were to be benevolent to him, possibly Alagiri wanted to make his son’s entry into the DMK smooth.