The action came soon after Alagiri met his father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Friday morning. The move is aimed at solving the problems the party faced in Madurai, the stronghold of Alagiri. In a statement, party general secretary K Anbazhagan said that the continuation of Alagiri in the party had become untenable in view of his open criticism of the action initiated against five of his supporters who were involved in anti-party activities.
Insiders feel the move was unexpected though the disciplinary action was not an isolated case but one of the few measures the party high command took in the last two months to rein in Alagiri. The suspension assumes significance as the DMK state conference in scheduled for next month in Tiruchirapalli and the party is gearing up for the general elections later this year. “The members should accept this decision taken in the interests of the party and should stand united,” Anbazhagan said.
Alagiri has been against his younger brother MK Stalin being elected to the party’s top post but the suspension of Alagiri is a clear indication that Karunanidhi wants to clean up the house before it is too late.
The Alagairi faction fears that the DMDK’s elevation as an ally would dent its leader’s base in Madurai and would give Stalin a headway in the temple town. In the last two months, Alagiri’s base in Madurai has been shaken as he lost most of his followers through a concerted campaign by the party in Chennai with concealed threats and offers.