CHENNAI: Sources close to DMK chief MK Stalin’s estranged older brother Alagiri admitted that the former South Tamil Nadu heavyweight might indeed launch his own outfit -- but only if he is not re-inducted into the DMK. Even then, his confidants ruled out ties with the BJP.
The 69-year-old Alagiri was expelled from the DMK in 2014 when his father M Karunanidhi was heading the party. Sources close to the leader said that Alagiri had since made it clear that he wanted to be re-inducted into the party. His future course of action will be determined by the outcome of a DMK high-level committee meeting scheduled for November 23 in which he expects a decision to be taken on the matter ahead of the 2021 assembly polls.
Long considered competition to Stalin, Karunanidhi’s chosen successor, Alagiri, a former Union minister, was once the party’s south zone organising secretary and the most influential political figure in Madurai, holding sway over many of the southern districts. He has maintained a low profile since his expulsion, barring his conducting of a rally in Chennai to mark the 30th day of his father’s death on September 5, 2018.
Although Alagiri could not be reached for comment, a close confidant of the former union minister said he had already waved ‘the white flag’. “Already annan (elder brother) has openly waved the white flag and made it clear that he is ready to accept Stalin’s leadership. What more could he say to get reinducted?” the confidant asked.
Admitting that the BJP had put out feelers to him, either to join them or their alliance, the confidant said that Alagiri turned them down, asserting that he is the “son of Kalaignar (Karunanidhi).”
“He is waiting for the DMK leadership’s decision. We hope they take an appropriate decision on the meeting and he will be inducted after that. His decision on whether or not to start a party will be made depending on the DMK’s decision,” the confidant said, dismissing as rumours the reports that Alagiri would meet BJP leader Amit Shah during his visit to the State on November 21.
Sources in the DMK said there were many who hoped Alagiri was reinducted. “If Alagiri joins hands with Stalin it would boost the morale of our cadres and send shock waves to our opponents. But, we don’t know what will be decided,” one DMK leader said.
For its part, state BJP leaders were noncommittal. While BJP spokesperson SR Sekar said he couldn’t respond to rumours, he indicated the party was keeping its options open. “Around the 2021 Assembly elections, the BJP will become an inevitable force in Tamil Nadu. So, the party will adopt all strategies required for achieving this position,” he said.
Another BJP leader said Alagiri was not a big force, but the possibility of roping him in could not be ruled out. Meanwhile, BJP state general secretary, Professor R Srinivasan, meeting reporters in Madurai on Monday said, "MK Alagiri has more political dexterity than DMK president MK Stalin. If Alagiri launches a party, BJP would welcome it."