Increasing rift in DMK worries old-timers

Increasing rift in DMK worries old-timers

Fear of parallel network under Stalin looms

With the rift between some DMK old-timers and its youth wing leader and treasurer M K Stalin widening, the spectre of a “parallel network” emerging under him haunts the party, as it tries to re-fashion itself after the 2011 assembly polls defeat in Tamil Nadu.

Armed with amendments to certain key by-laws of the party constitution, made at its February 3 general council, Stalin is virtually racing ahead to restructure the organization to give it a predominantly youth composition. But the move threatens to alienate the DMK’s old-guards, say party sources.

Even as Stalin, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s younger ­son, flew to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands early Tuesday to inaugurate the party’s new office building, internal differences have touched a raw nerve, much to the anguish of Karunanidhi. Raising the banner of revolt is Veerapandi S Arumugam, former state agriculture minister and DMK’s veteran Salem district secretary. His differences with Stalin came glaringly into the open at the general council itself. Veerapandi has forged fresh equations with Stalin’s elder brother M K Alagiri, Union Minister and DMK’s south strongman. 

The latest standoff stems from a “revolutionary” change made in the DMK’s constitution, as ratified at the generl council. Stalin is mainly credited with the step in the party. “Stalin has his ear to the ground, takes a realistic and far-reaching view of things, and understands local dynamics with a view to infuse fresh blood into the DMK,” party sources told Deccan Herald here.

Earlier, the ‘gram panchayat’ was the sole unit of forming a party branch at the lowest level. But the change effected in the party constitution recently enables more grassroots level DMK branches, one for each ward, as demarcated by the Election Commission for the purpose of holding elections to village panchayats.

“It also eliminates bogus grassroots-level units and inflated numbers,” as the membership recruitment under the new by-laws requires that the aspiring entrants into the DMK should also furnish their electoral voter-ID cards,” party sources explained.