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AIADMK hit by desertions, Jaya unperturbed

Source: PTI
June 20, 2010 15:46 IST
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With about 10 months to go for assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, main opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is in disarray as several party loyalists have switched sides to ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam after being disillusioned with the functioning of the party's high command.

However, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa seems unperturbed by the desertions. She is not worried about the 'excess baggage'. For her, the party's strength lay in its grassroots level workers, who are basically anti-DMK.

The continuing exodus has left the party short of leaders, especially those credited with "excellent" organisational skills. The local strongmen, who switched sides, are reaping rich rewards in DMK.

Former AIADMK ministers T M Selvaganapathy and K P Ramalingam, who quit the party to come under the fold of DMK, have been rewarded with Rajya Sabha seats by the ruling party.

Anitha S Radhakrishnan was elected from his Tiruchendur constituency on a DMK ticket after he walked out of AIADMK.

The latest to switch sides is former Minister S Muthusamy, once a confidant of Jayalalithaa and her tour manager. Muthusamy, considered a strong man in Erode district, was expelled for "anti-party activities" after he questioned Jayalalithaa's style of functioning.

A confidant of AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran, Muthusamy was the transport minister from 1980 till the former's death in 1987 and health minister in Jayalalithaa's first term as chief minister from 1991-96.

M Chinnasamy and Azhagu Thirunavukkarasu, both former Ministers, besides three former AIADMK legislators followed in the footsteps of Muthusamy.

Two of AIADMK's sitting MLAs, Radhakrishnan and Rajendran, have turned dissidents.

More than 10,000 AIADMK workers have joined the DMK in the last few days, indicating growing discontent in the party.

There have been growing instances of disgruntled AIADMK party cadre staging protest outside Jayalalithaa's residence, for reasons including irregularities in party postings.

Jayalalithaa recently took an effort to strike a chord with the partymen by announcing that she would meet them to hear their grievances, but left the party office in just an hour.

Several party workers, who had come from various parts of the state, went back home disappointed at not getting their chance to have a meeting with their leader.

Cashing in on the growing discontent, the DMK is likely to pull more AIADMK workers into its fold, sources said.

The continuing exodus has prompted an upbeat Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, son of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, to comment that there would be no senior leaders left in the opposition camp after some time.

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