Home >Politics >Policy >Karunanidhi family feud breaks out ahead of Stalin’s elevation
M.K. Alagiri addresses the media after paying homage to his late father M. Karunanidhi on Monday. Photo: PTI
M.K. Alagiri addresses the media after paying homage to his late father M. Karunanidhi on Monday. Photo: PTI

Karunanidhi family feud breaks out ahead of Stalin’s elevation

Stalin's elder brother Alagiri stakes claim to party leadership, says he has support of 'true loyalist cadres'

Chennai: Less than a week after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi’s death, long- standing differences between the party’s working president M.K. Stalin and his elder brother, M.K. Alagiri, surfaced yet again on Monday with the latter claiming the support of “true loyalist cadres" to stake his claim to leadership.

Alagiri, expelled from the DMK in 2014, was, however, quick to add that as he was no longer a member of the party “then, how can I challenge" and foment rebellion in DMK ranks.

The statement came a day before the party’s executive committee meeting, which is expected to finalize the date for Stalin’s elevation as DMK president.

Alagiri also said he has grievances about the party and “only time will answer all the questions".

In January 2014, Karunanidhi expelled Alagiri for “anti-party activities" after he came out in support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The rivalry between the two brothers was at its peak back then.

Karunanidhi, who had always backed his younger son as his political heir, elevated Stalin as working president of the DMK in January 2017 as his deteriorating health did not allow him to preside over party affairs any longer.

“This is possibly an attempt to seek some public attention. Maybe he is sending feelers to be considered as a member of the party and is looking to patch up. But nothing has been decided regarding the induction of Alagiri into the DMK," said a senior DMK leader, requesting anonymity.

“The transition (of Stalin) to the helm of DMK is already done. Naming him as the next president is just a formality now. How could someone who is not even a member of the DMK challenge Stalin’s elevation?" the leader added.

Alagiri was earlier the south zone organizing secretary of the DMK.

DMK MLA J. Anbazhagan said that his party members are not in touch with Alagiri. “It was our leader Karunanidhi’s decision to expel him from the party. I don’t want to respond to the comments of someone who is not even a member of the party," he said.

Political observers said Alagiri would not pose a challenge to Stalin and that his comments could be viewed as an attempt by him to patch up with the DMK.

It is possible that there would have been some “behind-the scenes" reconciliation bid which may have failed, said N. Sathiya Moorthy, director at Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank. “But for Alagiri to make such claims, he has to actually show up numbers for Stalin and others to take him seriously, and those members have to be active cadres and members of the party’s general council."

He added that with such claims, Alagiri would lose whatever little credibility that he might have. “Or, he will be dubbed and dismissed by the party cadres as playing stooge to someone else (outside the party)."

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