Deals seal return of the prodigal son

The move to get patriarch Karunanidhi’s elder son Alagiri back in the party fold may ensure a temporary truce in the Dravidian party

Published: 03rd December 2016 10:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2016 09:27 AM   |  A+A-


M K Alagiri and Stalin

CHENNAI: To settle family feud, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi may be moving towards bringing back his banished elder son and former Madurai satrap M K Alagiri into the party fold. Though touted to ensure a temporary truce in the ‘Karunanidhi Clan’, this is bound to pose problems that the nonagenarian may not be able to solve.

Apportioning the political estate among different claimants within the family remains a thorny issue for the ailing five-time CM. Stalin’s increasing vice-like grip over the party has rattled the rest of the K-Clan. And it is at this juncture that the return of the prodigal son has gained momentum.

Fuelling speculation about his re-entry, Alagiri met his younger brother, Stalin, at their father’s Gopalapuram residence recently. This was the first time that the warring siblings have come face to face nearly two years after Alagiri’s expulsion from DMK. According to party sources, this rendezvous followed persistent lobbying from the core members of the DMK’s first family to have the former Union Minister on board.

Now, it is learnt that a compromise over accommodating Alagiri’s son, Dayanidhi, in the wealthy party-controlled trusts was struck at the meeting. Indeed, this has been a bone of contention for long, eventually leading to Alagiri’s expulsion. But, this is not without riders. Refraining from creating any trouble or challenging Stalin’s leadership was sought as a quid pro quo, party insiders said.

However, his rehabilitation from political wilderness and fullscale induction into the DMK is not without its share of disadvantages. While the DMK wants to live down the past, the return of Alagiri necessarily resurrects the past.

For, when the DMK was in power, he was virtually running a parallel government with his minions, alienating not only many a party stalwart and functionaries but the masses as well. And, when elections came, the results were there for everyone to see. As such, his return threatens to affect the new equations in the party besides posing an existential dilemma for the Dravidian major.

Political analyst and critic of Dravidian movement Stalin Rajangam said Alagiri’s reunion would put on hold ‘Stalinism’ in the DMK and keep the balance of the family applecart. “Despite the seeming dynamism under Stalin as the defacto leader, lack of resurgence or renaissance is apparent. For, Stalin’s efforts are directed more at bringing the party apparatus under his thumb. Allowing Stalin as the only face of the party and the sole leader is not in the interests of others in the family or the party.

And Karunanidhi is not oblivious to this”, he said, adding that Stalin’s strategy of wooing the Dominant OBCs has not helped the party in the last elections. In his view, the wily patriarch is for an acceptable division of labour in the family wherein Stalin has supremacy in the hierarchy without affecting others. But, Alagiri is not one who remains satisfied with the crumbs.


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