Alagiri’s Climbdown: “Will Accept Stalin As Leader If DMK Takes Me Back”

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CHENNAI: Expelled DMK leader MK Alagiri said he would accept younger brother MK Stalin as his leader if he was taken back into the party, a sign of capitulation after nearly four years out in the cold. “We are ready to join the DMK… It is obvious that I accept him (Stalin) as my leader,” MK Alagiri, 67, told reporters.
Last week, Mr Alagiri’s tone was tougher as he warned the party of “consequences” if he was not taken back, but didn’t specify. The former union minister has also organized a peace march on September 5 to his father’s grave on Chennai’s Marina Beach, an event widely seen as a show of protest against the DMK.
Alagiri, the older son of former chief minister and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, was expelled in 2014 for anti-party activities after he openly rebelled against his father for projecting his brother as his successor. He had said that he would not accept anybody but Karunanidhi as his leader.
After Karunanidhi’s death earlier this month, Alagiri made an appearance at his memorial, where he claimed, “loyalists of Karunanidhi are on my side”. He also made it clear that he wanted back in but kept making contradictory statements. First he called himself the real DMK, then he insisted on being readmitted to the party.
On Tuesday, MK Stalin, 65, was elected unopposed as the party’s president, the smooth takeover suggesting that his brother’s challenge had no substance or teeth. Stalin enjoys full control over the party he has run for years, as wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi, the party’s chief for five decades, faded out of public life.
DMK leaders say Stalin is unwilling to have his brother back in the party even if he returns to the family.
Alagiri’s comments appeared to confirm Stalin’s reluctance: “We are ready to join the party, the current leadership is not willing to let us join the party. I have the support of the cadre.”
He added: “If I wish to join the party, I’ll have to accept him as leader, right?”ThMr Stalin’s feud with his brother could cast a shadow on his first big challenge after taking charge – by-polls in two Tamil Nadu seats. One of them is Tiruparangundram, which is in Mr Alagiri’s bastion Madurai.