Chennai: Beleaguered DMK leader and party chief M Karunanidhi's son M K Alagiri found himself in further trouble on Tuesday with his father and party chief rebuking him for his comments on alliance with DMDK and indicated that the Madurai-based leader could face action if he did not toe the party line.
What has turned out to be a bone of contention in his simmering rivalry with younger brother M K Stalin on leadership squabbles, Alagiri's questioning of DMK's willingness to forge a tie-up with DMDK seems to have boomeranged on him.
Karunanidhi's rapping of Alagiri, a former party strongman in the southern city of Madurai, comes days after disbanding of local units in that town in the face of factionalism. Sending clear signals to the former Union Fertilizer Minister, DMK high command had replaced the Madurai Urban unit with an an adhoc committee dominated by Stalin supporters on Saturday following some critical posters pasted by alleged Alagiri supporters.
The Madurai MP's subsequent interview to a Tamil TV channel criticising DMDK founder Vijayakant and speaking against DMK aligning with the actor-politician, created furore in political circles even as he reportedly reaffirmed his stand that he will accept none other than Karunanidhi as his leader.
Stalin had openly snubbed his elder brother in Tiruchirappally yesterday when he not only batted for DMK's alliance with DMDK, but also made a sarcastic remark that he doesn't read such "unnecessary news items," when asked about Alagiri's reported views against tie-up with Vijayakant's party. In a stern warning, Karunanidhi seemed not to take lightly Alagiri's comments, saying it was not in consonance with his own earlier remark as party "president", where he had expressed joy if DMDK came into the DMK-led front.
If reports of Alagiri suggesting against a DMK-DMDK tie-up were true then "there is no connection between them and DMK," Karunanidhi said, seeking to distance himself from his son's remarks. It was upto the Executive and General Council or the "authorised high command" to decide on alliance prospects, he told reporters here.
Alagiri's remarks were in contrast to the statement made by him welcoming DMK-DMDK alliance, and this was "not only regrettable but also condemnable," Karunanidhi said.
"I make it clear that those who make such unnecessary contrasting remarks and thus try to flout party discipline, whoever they are, disciplinary action will be initiated against them and they will be expelled, even from party membership," he said, adding, this decision applied to all DMK members at all times.
He also claimed that a section of media was not happy with DMK-DMDK alliance and was therefore making mischievous reports about leaders of either parties. Differences between Alagiri and Stalin are well-known with both sparring on the issue of who would be the political heir to Karunanidhi.
While the 90-year-old DMK chief had at times hinted that Stalin could well be his successor, Alagiri had challenged that, saying he would not accept anyone other than Karunanidhi as his leader. Prior to the 2011 elections when AIADMK stormed to power, Madurai was believed to be Alagiri's bastion with the leader enjoying tremendous clout in the southern districts. He had been earlier made the party's Organising Secretary, South.
But since DMK's rout in the 2011 elections and the party's withdrawal from the Congress-led UPA cabinet over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue last year, 63 year-old Alagiri has been maintaining a low profile.