Chennai: The divide in DMK's first family seems to be deepening with party chief Karunanidhi suspending five supporters of his son Alagiri from the party. This move comes 2 days after Karunanidhi issued a veiled warning to Alagiri for speaking out against party heir apparent and younger brother MK Stalin. Karunanidhi had warned that anyone flouting discipline will be expelled from the party.
Karunanidhi in a statement had said that anyone flouting party discipline faces expulsion from primary membership. He further says that this has been the "rule in DMK yesterday, today and tomorrow".
He also clarified Alagiri's reported statement on DMDK saying that Karunanidhi said that certain sections of the media have been trying to create hurdles in the DMK-DMDK alliance. "If Alagiri has made these statements, the DMK is not responsible for it," he said and then added that anyone making statements contradictory to party stand would be expelled.
The Stalin vs Alagiri tussle is not a good news for the DMK, which is facing an uphill task in the coming Lok Sabha polls. Karunanidhi's two sons - Stalin and Alagiri- have been against each other for a long time. Karunanidhi's decision to anoint Stalin as his successor has worsened the sibling rivalry.
While Alagiri has been DMK's southern commander lording over Madurai region, Stalin has been the leader of DMK in north Tamil Nadu and the state capital Chennai. The DMK cadres like Stalin. Even though Alagiri is a powerful leader in Southern TN with an iron grip over Madurai region, his abrasive ways have made him unpopular.
In 2009, a reluctant Alagiri was dispatched to national capital New Delhi as a Union minister by his father. Alagiri, who is fluent only in Tamil felt like a foreigner in Delhi, started spending more time back home.
Stalin who controls the DMK central units is wary of his elder brother and his political ambitions. He thinks that he is the only leader who can keep the DMK intact and relevant. He has also been a favourite of his father.
In 2007, a survey projecting Stalin as the most popular leader conducted by a Tamil daily 'Dinakaran' had led to a huge furore in Madurai. The newspaper office was set on fire and there were deaths.
Over the years Stalin has been very assertive and Alagiri feels slighted. The sibling rivalry has also divided the DMK vertically. If Karunanidhi fails to mediate a truce between two warring sons, the DMK will have to face huge challenge in the Lok Sabha polls.