Expelled DMK leader M K Azhagiri today took out a silent march to the Anna Memorial on the Marina to pay homage to his late father and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in a show of strength to his younger brother and present party chief M K Stain.
Azhagiri, dressed in black, led the march from Triplicane to the Anna Memorial where Karunanidhi is buried and paid homage along with his family members.
He claimed that 1.5 lakh supporters of his took part in the march and dared Stalin to expel them. It was a grossly exaggerated figure. Police estimate the crowd to be around 10,000 supporters.
Azhagiri and his supporters rallied under a banner “Lets join hands and save the party”. Azhagiri who kept a low profile after his expulsion from the party a few years ago for revolting against the elevation of Stalin as working president so as to eventually succeed Karunanidhi, kept to himself even at the funeral.
He opened up only after returning to Madurai, his base, with a statement that he was ready to accept Stalin’s leadership if he was readmitted into the party.
At the general council held after Karunanidhi’s death , where Stalin was formally made party president, several leaders urged him to” cut the umbilical cord” in what was seen as a message to him to resist pressure from his family members to reconcile with his estranged brother.
Stalin did not respond to Azhagiri’s initial threats to split the party. In a softening of the stand, Azhgiri then said he was ready to accept Stalin’s leadership if he was readmitted into the party. “I don’t want any post”, he said. Again, no response. Pushed to the wall, Azhagiri rallied his supporters mainly from southern Tamil Nadu for the silent march. UNI