DMK president MK Stalin, who has been connecting with party functionaries mostly through video calls, deputed party principal secretary KN Nehru to south to iron out differences in the Thoothukudi district unit.
Nehru is said to have camped in Thoothukudi to inquire into the allegations of favourtism against one of the district secretaries. The DMK principal secretary is understood to have elicited views of the local party cadre in connection with the replacement of some of the union secretaries in the coastal town in southern Tamil Nadu.
A DMK insider, who did not wish to be named, said the Thoothukudi district secretary had replaced a couple of old timers with his loyalists, who were relatively new to the party, in four unions. What the district secretary did not expect was the backlash from the old guard who approached the party leadership with complaints.
“Functionaries from Thoothukudi were complaining against the district secretary. Fax messages from Thoothukudi started flooding the party president’s house. The ousted union secretaries were important functionaries who are well-connected with the leadership. Hence, the party president deputed Nehru to sort out the problem during the lockdown,” said a DMK senior who did not wish to be named.
Inquiries with party insiders also revealed that the district secretary had made promises to a resourceful leader of alliance partner Congress there for next year’s Assembly elections. The district secretary was learnt to have promised to give Srivaikuntam constituency to a former Congress MLA of the constituency who had desperately attempted to secure Thoothukudi Lok Sabha seat for his son before the DMK high command decided to field party’s Women’s Wing secretary Kanimozhi.
“The district secretary wields enormous support among the community. So, the high command was content with reversing a few decisions made by him. But as the old timers were also important, Nehru was dispatched to control the damage and reprimand the district secretary,” said a party senior.