Days after pullout, Alagiri skips crucial DMK meeting

The DMK executive committee meeting on Monday was overshadowed by the absence of party president M Karunanidhi's elder son M K Alagiri, who is reportedly sulking for not being consulted on the party's decision to pull out of the UPA government at the Centre.

The DMK had convened the crucial meeting, the first after it decided to quit the UPA government over the Sri Lanka issue, to inform and ratify the decision, and also to discuss the way ahead for the party.

Sources said while most of the committee members supported the decision to snap ties, a few of the senior leaders pointed out that the DMK cannot allow communal forces and political rivals to exploit the situation.

The meeting, chaired by Karunanidhi, adopted a total of 16 resolutions, including the decision to pull out of the UPA government, opposing the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Colombo in November, opposing the GAIL pipeline through farmlands and issues concerning farmers and fishermen among others.

However, it was Alagiri's absence that got more attention than the meeting itself. There was talk earlier that Alagiri was likely to skip the meeting to convey his displeasure over the party's decision that was influenced, if not scripted, by his younger brother, M K Stalin.

On Monday, Alagiri left Chennai for Madurai at around 8:30 am, just a few hours before the meeting was set to begin.

While party leaders downplayed the absence, Alagiri claimed that he skipped the meeting as he was unwell. "Am I the only invitee who did not attend," the former union minister told mediapersons, when asked why he had stayed away.

Alagiri had called on Karunanidhi yesterday and reportedly expressed his views on the issue. Earlier, he had refused to accompany the other DMK ministers who tendered their resignations together. He had also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and union ministers from the State, P Chidambaram and G K Vasan after quitting the cabinet.

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