August 25th, 2011
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Will M K Alagiri walk out of DMK

m k alagiriTiruchy: A harsh comment by Union minister M K Alagiri outside the Tiruchy prison on Wednesday while turning away from the waiting media and his refusal to accept a dhoti with DMK colour border has added to speculation about his continuation in the DMK, besides making many wonder if he was threatening the DMK leadership or sending signals to other parties.

“When I do not want the dhoti, why should I speak to the press ?” he told to a motley group of supporters after they informed him that the media was waiting as he emerged out of the prison gates.

He refused to take the prestigious DMK dhoti, which was presented as a shawl, while entering the prison and also while leaving. It is customary for DMK cadre to present the black-and-red-bordered dhoti to senior leaders and normally, they never reject it. But Alagiri did it twice, triggering a fresh wave of speculation of his plans to break away from the DMK.

More than his refusal to accept the dhoti, it was the loud remark made in the presence of the media that assumes significance. For, there was a chance of the journalists failing to take note of political symbolism behind the refusal to accept the gift and dismiss it as brash behaviour.

In the DMK’s hyperbolic jargon, the term dhoti is identified with the party or its principles. Even party founder C N Annadurai had equated the party’s principles with the dhoti when he wanted to convey that principles are more important than power.

At a time when his followers are facing a spate of cases and the noose is said to be tighetening around the Union minister and his family as well, Alagiri’s remarks can be seen as an indication of his plans to distance himself from the party.

It can also be read as a signal to the DMK leader and his father M Karunanidhi that he was not happy


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