Sending a strong signal that indiscipline would not be tolerated, DMK today suspended 33 senior leaders, including former union minister S S Palanimanickam, and slapped show cause notices on them asking why they should not be expelled from the party against the backdrop of its rout in recent Lok Sabha polls.
The action was taken based on recommendations by an internal panel which had pointed out to lapses and acts of indiscipline by certain leaders that led to the ignominious defeat in the hustings besides feedback from unsuccessful candidates, poll managers and party workers.
The leaders, including Rajya Sabha member K P Ramalingam, have been directed to furnish their replies within a week, failing which the party would conclude that they have no explanation to offer and would "summarily" expel them, DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said in a statement here.
The party had also removed the suspended leaders from all party posts they currently held, Anbazhagan said.
DMK cracked the whip against senior leaders and a few District and Town Secretaries on the basis of feedback by unsuccessful candidates, poll managers and party workers on the debacle in which it drew a blank contesting all 39 seats.
Palanimanickam and his supporters had raised a hue and cry when former union minister T R Baalu, a confidante of party Treasurer M K Stalin was allowed to shift his constituency from Sriperumbudur to Thanjavur, the former's home turf.
Though the two later announced that there was no rift between them, their supporters did not see eye to eye. Baalu, considered a heavyweight, lost in Thanjavur to AIADMK.
The party led by M Karunanidhi held a brain storming session on June 2 to identify the causes for the severe drubbing and discuss measures to strengthen the party ahead of the assembly polls that are two years away from now.
It had set up a committee including Kalasapakkam Thiruvengadam and former minister Thangham Thennarasu to go into the issue and submit a report.
DMK had also recently restructured district units as part of its exercise to revitalise the party.