CHENNAI: A month after the DMK faced its worst-ever debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, the party leadership on Saturday cracked the whip and suspended 33 functionaries, including former Union minister S S Palanimanickam, who is the Thanjavur district secretary, former minister V Mullaivendan, who is also the party’s in-charge for Dharmapuri (South) and Rajya Sabha MP K P Ramalingam, for acting against the DMK’s diktat during the polls.
The action came following a report submitted by two members of a committee formed to go into the activities of the DMK candidates for LS polls and in-charges of election across the State. DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan, in his statement, said Tiruvengadam and Thangam Thennarasu had submitted their report after studying the complaints received by the DMK president and recommended action. Analysts see the action as another attempt by the party heir apparent M K Stalin to consolidate his grip.
Apart from a sprinkling of big names, the axe fell mostly on grassroots level functionaries. Though many key functionaries had been blamed for the DMK rout, they seem to have been spared for now.
“The suspended functionaries have been asked to show cause as to why they should not be expelled from the party. If they fail to reply within a week’s time, disciplinary action will be taken against them,” Anbazhagan said in a statement.
Prominent in the firing line is the then sitting Thanjavur LS member S S Palanimanickam. In protest, the followers of Palanimanickam had burnt effigies of Baalu in two places in Thanjavur. Palanimanickam is seen as a rebel.
A senior functionary said action had not been taken against functionaries who are responsible for the rout in Madurai, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Villupuram, Theni, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Erode districts. Most of those who have been suspended were part of the anti-Stalin faction, while a couple of them were supporters of Kanimozhi. Though a few supporters of M K Alagiri like K P Ramalingam were suspended, many of his cronies appear to have been spared, he said.