MK Alagiri, expelled DMK leader and former union minister, effected a complete climb-down today saying that he would accept younger brother MK Stalin as his leader if he was taken back by the party.
“We are ready to join the DMK… It is obvious that I accept him (Stalin) as my leader,” MK Alagiri, 67, told reporters today.
Last week, Mr Alagiri’s tone was tougher as he warned the party of “consequences” if he was not taken back. He has organised 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.
Mr 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 Mr Karunanidhi as his leader.
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi had projected MK Stalin over his brother MK Alagiri as the successor of the DMK
After Mr Karunanidhi’s death earlier this month, Mr Alagiri made an appearance at his funeral. He made it clear that he wanted back in but kept making contradictory statements. First he called himself the real DMK, then he insisted on returning to the party.
MK Stalin, 65, was elected unopposed as the party’s president on Tuesday, the smooth takeover suggesting that his brother’s challenge has no teeth. Mr Stalin has complete control over the party he has run for years, as wheelchair-bound Mr Karunanidhi, the party’s chief for five decades, faded out of public life.
DMK leaders say Mr Stalin is unwilling to have his brother back in the party.
Mr Alagiri’s comments appeared to confirm that stance: “We are ready to join the party, he 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?”