A majority of top-level Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders in the district did not visit the airport here on Monday to receive M.K. Alagiri, Madurai’s Member of Parliament and son of DMK president M. Karunanidhi, on his return from Chennai.
Party rural district secretary P. Moorthy and head of an ad hoc committee, constituted to manage party affairs after the dissolution of the urban unit on January 4, G. Thalapathy, were among those who were conspicuous by their absence.
None of the six-member ad hoc committee, including P. Packianathan and C. Chinnammal, considered to be loyalists of Mr. Alagiri, were at the airport. Around 24 office-bearers in the Madurai rural district party unit also stayed away.
Around 150 lower-level partymen, headed by former Deputy Mayor P.M. Mannan, who was one among the five suspended from the party’s primary membership on Thursday, former Member of Legislative Assembly S. Ghouse Basha and another loyalist, Essar Gopi, were present at the airport.
The partymen entered the airport terminal and raised slogans in support of Mr. Alagiri when he emerged from the out gate at 12.20 pm. Though many of them attempted to present shawls, he refused to accept them.
Later, he told The Hindu that he planned to pay a visit to Cumbum in Theni district to console the family members of R.P. Easwaran (47), Cumbum Town Secretary of DMK, who committed suicide on Sunday.
Asked if there was any change in his stand on DMK allying with actor-turned-politician Vijayakant’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), he chose to remain silent. His television interview last week criticising Vijayakant earned him the wrath of DMK president M. Karunanidhi.