Expelled DMK leader and elder son of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, MK Alagiri on Monday sounded the bugle for a succession war in the party.
Just a day ahead of the crucial executive council meeting of the DMK, chaired by working president MK Stalin, that is expected to decide on a date for the general council to formally elect the new president in place of his father who died after holding the party reigns for fifty years. Karunanidhi was among the founder members of the DMK and was its chief till his last breath.
The rank and file and senior leaders are firmly behind Stalin and he was already elevated as the working president after illness kept Karunanidhi away from active politics for the past two years.
But Alagiri sounded a war cry from Madurai saying that the majority of the party workers and leaders were with him. But his attempt to create trouble ahead of the executive council meeting is being seen as a pressure tactic to force Stalin's hand on the issue.
Alagiri told media persons in Madurai that "he will reveal his plans and support at the appropriate time. There are countless supporters of mine in the party and the people all over the state. True supporters of Kalaignar are with me."
Political analysts, however, discount his utterances as mere bravado and attempt to stay relevant in state politics. It must be remembered that Alagiri was expelled from the DMK by Karunanidhi for anti-party activities.
Alagiri had tried his best to make a comeback to the party when his father was alive, but to no avail, however, Stalin had blocked all his attempts. That Karunanidhi had signed expulsion orders of Alagiri is not lost on DMK cadres and leaders.
Karunanidhi had always maintained that Stalin was his chosen political heir. "If anything happens to me, Stalin will be the Chief Minister," Karunanidhi had told a private television channel in one of his last interviews before falling ill.
Alagiri was also trying to warm his way into the hearts of the extended family to try and get back to the DMK. He was considered the Southern district strongman and was mounting a challenge to Stalin in the leadership tussle.
Stalin managed to outmanoeuvre him and took complete charge of the party and put his key persons in important district office bearers' posts. So, at the best, Alagiri can make noises and pose some damage potential in closely fought assembly elections. And that is if he manages to stay afloat politically till 2021.
It remains to be seen if Alagiri gets the support of any other political party in his fight with Stalin and thus the DMK.
BJP leader P Selvam maintained that "it is an internal matter of the DMK and anyway DMK is a family concern, so it is a family affair." Everyone in the state knows that DMK is a family party and not of the cadres and leaders.
"It is shameful that in less than a week of their father's death, the brothers are fighting it out in the open," he said.
But to be fair, Stalin has refused to make any comment on his brother Alagiri, leaving this task to the party leaders and supporters.