January 29, 2014

Karunanidhi seeks PM help as Alagiri says Stalin will 'die' in three months

As the sibling war in the DMK intensifies, Karunanidhi writes to the PM for special protection to son Stalin after his other son Alagiri said, "Stalin would die in three months." Is it the end of the GOP in Tamil Nadu?
New Delhi: The rivalry in the DMK between MK Alagiri and MK Stalin, both party president Karunanidhi's sons, has reached a point of no return. A high drama is being played out and the party is facing an internal threat of rebellion. Karunanidhi had declared Stalin as his chosen successor. But Alagiri has never compromised to the situation and opposes Stalin's nomination tooth and nail.

Now Karunanidhi has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for special protection to his son Stalin after his other son Alagiri warned, "Stalin would die in three months."

After he told Karunanidhi last Friday that his son and party treasurer Stalin would die in three months, Alagiri was suspended from all party posts. "No one can tolerate such words. No father can tolerate such words. But as party chief, I had to tolerate them," Karunanidhi clarified to newsmen on Tuesday. He also said a decision to expel him from the party would be taken in a few days as per the party’s disciplinary procedure.

Karunanidhi said Alagiri while holding important position in the party was giving statements through interviews to newspapers and television channels which were against the party's views.

On what transpired between him and Alagiri when the latter met him before he was suspended from the party on Friday, Karunanidhi said, "Alagiri came to my house on January 24 and complained about Stalin. He used harsh words."

Alagiri has said in reaction, "I have not done anything wrong. I'm shocked to hear the statements made by my father."

Alagiri, residing in Madurai, is the organizing secretary of the party for southern districts and was a Union minister till DMK pulled out of the ruling UPA on 20 March 2013 over the Indian stand on the Lankan Tamil issue at the UN. He has tremendous hold in the region. There have been frequent clashes between his supporters and those of his younger brother and heir apparent Stalin, former Chennai mayor and Deputy CM, over succession issue.

The succession issue had blown up in 2007 when party members loyal to Alagiri attacked the Madurai office of Dinakaran and set it on fire. Three employees had died. Dinakaran is a part of the Sun TV group owned by Kalanidhi Maran, son of Murasoli Maran. Murasoli is the grand-nephew of Karunanidhi. The immediate provocation for the attack was publication of the result of an opinion poll favouring Stalin by the newspaper.

Karunanidhi has been the leader of the DMK since the death of its founder, CN Annadurai in 1969. He married three times. MK Muthu, his eldest son, was born to Padmavathy, his first wife, who died early. Alagiri, Stalin, Selvi (daughter) and Tamilarasu were born to Dayalu Ammal, his second wife. Kanimozhi (daughter), a Rajya Sabha MP, is from his third wife, Rajathiammal.

- RM Nair

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