Alagiri skips DMK meet, cites health ground
Former Union Minister M K Alagiri on Monday skipped the crucial Dravida Munetra Kazhagam executive committee meet indicating the growing fissures within the party but the Madurai strongman downplayed his absence on health grounds.
Convened by his father and party chief M Karunanidhi, the meeting was called in the aftermath of the DMK pulling out of the United Progressive Alliance coalition on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
Alagiri has been sulking over not being consulted by the party when it decided to pull out of the UPA besides the increasing prominence given to younger brother Stalin, named as heir-apparent.
Reports said Alagiri was not happy over DMK snapping its ties with Congress and he separately met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tender his resignation instead of joining other DMK ministers.
Downplaying his absence at the meeting, Alagiri, the party's south zone organising secretary, who returned to Madurai, said he could not attend because "I am not well".
"There are hundred members in the executive committee...not all the hundred would have participated in the meeting for various reasons... You go and see how many turned up at the meeting," he said when asked whether there was any other reason apart from health issues.
Responding to another query from reporters over his meeting Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Shipping Minister G K Vasan after resigning from the ministry, Alagiri shot back, "I also met Sonia Gandhi and the prime minister".
"After resigning I should not go to office... and I cannot implement welfare schemes which I was doing as minister.... that's all. But I can meet people?" he asked.
In a sign of continued rift between him and the party over certain issues, Alagiri, who was in Chennai, left for Madurai.
Recently, Karunanidhi had indicated that Stalin would be his successor and Alagiri had expressed displeasure, remarking DMK is not a 'mutt' where a senior pontiff can anoint his successor.