A quieter Alagiri returns where he once reigned

After a reluctant stint in Delhi that will be remembered only for the absence of activity, the DMK's one-time strongman of the southern districts, M K Alagiri, is returning to a different river. He is no longer who he was, nor is Madurai what is was.

Alagiri's reign in Madurai began when the DMK won the assembly polls in 2006. But his rise within the DMK started about two years later, after the party realised his contribution in winning a series of bypolls in the region and then one general election. But in the assembly election of 2011, all 10 seats in the district went to AIADMK and allies. From then on, he has been so low-key while at home in Madurai that local rivals term him an absentee landlord.

"Even when he was a Union minister, Alagiri stayed away from Madurai as far as it was possible after losing power in the state. Now that he is no longer a minister, Alagiri is unlikely to come here anytime soon," said an AIADMK MLA from Madurai.

Even more significant is the spectacular loss of clout within the party since that election.

As Alagiri and his aides took considerable share of the blame for the loss, his younger brother M K Stalin made serious inroads into the southern districts where the party was functioning without coordination.

A few of the leaders of the Alagiri faction switched camps due to disgruntlement about his top aide, N Suresh Babu or 'Pottu' Suresh. Suresh's rule ended when he was murdered in January, allegedly by an upset aide, 'Attack' Pandi. Wanted by the police, Pandi is now on the run.

In the last few months, Jaya's police have stepped up pressure on Alagiri, obtaining a non-bailable warrant against his only son, Durai Dhayanidhi, in connection with a mining scam. Durai's film company office was raided and he went on the run before finally getting anticipatory bail. The family was accused of building an IT park by encroaching on a portion of public land and an agricultural canal.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.