Alagiri now ready to accept Stalin's leadership

Former Union minister M K Alagiri addresses the media after paying homage to his late father and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at his memorial on Marina Beach. (PTI File Photo)

Climbing down from his earlier position, expelled DMK leader M K Alagiri on Thursday said he was ready to accept his younger brother M K Stalin's leadership if inducted into the party.

Azhagiri, whose wielded enormous influence in the DMK in Southern districts just a few years ago before he was expelled in 2014, also made a fervent appeal to the party leadership to induct him once again. Azhagiri and Stalin have had a long history of animosity and they don’t see eye-to-eye despite being born to Dayalau Ammal, M Karunanidhi's second wife.

“There is no other way than to accept Stalin's leadership if I want to re-join DMK,” Azhagiri told reporters in Madurai, which was once his fiefdom, during his interaction with his supporters. Azhagiri's statement came days after his son Dayanidhi told reporters that his father was ready to join the DMK without any conditions.

His latest statement is a clear U-turn from the stand he took on August 13, a week after Karunanidhi's death, by launching a scathing attack on his younger brother Stalin.

Alagiri was expelled by Karunanidhi, the then DMK president, for bringing disrepute to the party, and he has been challenging Stalin's leadership by maintaining that he cannot accept anyone other than his father as his leader. Since Karunanidhi's death on August 7, Alagiri has been trying to get into the DMK, but in vain.

With all his efforts to patch up with Stalin hitting a wall, Alagiri had been trying to embarrass the party by raising questions about Stalin's leadership and announced that he will march towards Karunanidhi's burial site on the Marina Beach on September 5.

“We want to save the party (DMK) and that is why I am asking them (leadership) to induct me and my supporters into the DMK once again. The problem is they are not ready to take us back into the party. The September 5 rally in Chennai will be a huge success,” he said.

From claiming that majority of Karunanidhi's “true followers” were with him to accepting Stalin's leadership within a fortnight – political observers say Alagiri has made a dramatic climbdown. They also said Alagiri, who lost his political clout after being expelled from the DMK, was trying to broker a deal with the party since he was not sure about the “mega rally” that he is planning in Chennai as a show of strength.

However, the DMK seems to be in no mood to induct Alagiri back into the party. “The decision to expel Alagiri was taken by none other than Karunanidhi, who never bothered to revoke the decision. What is the need to reconsider a decision taken by Karunanidhi?” a DMK leader asked.

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