In a drastic yet dramatic step seen as an attempt to smoothen alliance formation ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the DMK on Friday suspended its south zone organising secretary and party chief M Karunanidhi’s son M K Alagiri from the party’s primary membership.
Reacting to the development, Alagiri, speaking to Express over phone, wondered if there was democracy in the party. He questioned whether the move was prompted because he did not inform the high command of his trip to Hong Kong.
“I really do not understand the action. Maybe they did not like me going to Hong Kong. But is this democracy? I do not know what to say,” he said in a composed tone.
The suspension came within hours of a meeting between the former Union minister and Karunanidhi at the latter’s Gopalapuram residence in the morning, when the former seemed to have vented his anger on the axing of five more of his loyalists from the party on Thursday. After Alagiri stormed out of Karunanidhi’s residence, senior party leaders, including treasurer and heir apparent M K Stalin and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi arrived there and had a conclave, which party sources said was focused on the Madurai satrap.
Friday’s move is the culmination of a series of disciplinary actions that followed an acerbic television interview by Alagiri earlier this month, when he openly criticised the party’s efforts to align with the DMDK.
The suspension came through a strongly-worded statement, in which general secretary K Anbazhagan said Alagiri’s continuation had become untenable in view of the support he had extended to those involved in “treacherous” acts against the party.
The most important among these, the statement indicated, was issuing defamatory statements against leaders of the parties with which the DMK intended to align in an attempt to sabotage such efforts.
Anbazhagan said ignoring the avenues within the party to express differences and resolve issues, some were engaged in anti-party activities. This included instigating registration of cases under the SC/ST Act on functionaries in Madurai.
"For strongly criticising the action taken against those who indulged in treacherous acts, involving in needless quarrels, exhorting party workers not to work and attempting to create confusion.... M K Alagiri is being temporarily suspended from DMK membership and other responsibilities,” the statement read.
The decision, it maintained, was for the party's own good and that the cadre should accept the announcement and aid the smooth functioning of the organisation.