Dressed in black, former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader MK Alagiri and his supporters took out a silent rally to the memorial of his father, M Karunanidhi, at Chennai’s Marina beach on Wednesday, ANI reported. Alagiri, his son Daya Alagiri and daughter Kayalvizhi paid their respects to the former DMK chief, The Indian Express reported.
“One lakh people came here to support me today,” Alagiri told ANI. “Will they send all of them out? You ask them and let me know,” he added, when asked about his supporters being removed from the party. The rally is being seen as a show of strength by Alagiri, who was expelled in 2014.
Former Madurai deputy mayor and Alagiri’s aide PM Mannan said that the DMK cadre were suspended from the party for receiving Alagiri at the Chennai airport on Tuesday. “Today lakhs of cadre are here to attend the peace march, how many will be sacked?” he asked. “Although we have been sacked we’ll be DMK cadre only.”
Mannan was referring to the removal of M Ravi, who was the DMK’s area secretary in Chennai’s Velachery neighbourhood.
K Isakkimuthu, the former zone chairman of Madurai Corporation and Alagiri’s supporter, said he had hoped more of his loyalists would turn up for the march. Around 12,000 people took part in the march and another 3,000 people joined Alagiri at the memorial, reported Firstpost. The group had reportedly expected around 50,000 people.
Last week, Alagiri said he was willing to work under the leadership of his younger brother and party President MK Stalin if he is admitted back to the DMK.
Alagiri and his younger brother MK Stalin had been at the centre of a succession battle. On August 28, Stalin was elected party president at the party’s general council meeting. He took over the post held by his father M Karunanidhi for 49 years till his death on August 7.