On Monday, former labour minister in the 2001-06 AIADMK regime, VT Natarajan and former MP Govindarajan met Chief Minister MK Stalin at Anna Arivalayam and joined the DMK.
Govindarajan was the latest from the western region to change loyalty. Around a fortnight ago, former AIADMK minister Thoppu ND Venkatachalam and former MP PR Sundaram from Erode and Namakkal districts joined the ruling party. Like their former party colleagues who changed loyalties, Govindarajan also blamed the incumbent AIADMK leadership for their defection. Talking to reporters after the defection, Govindarajan said, “The AIADMK has lost its individuality after Jayalalithaa’s death. That is why we have joined the DMK. The ruling DMK would grow by strength owing to the arrival of other party members.”
Prior to Venkatachalam, the DMK had lured former minister cum AMMK deputy general secretary Palaniappan and former Makkal Neethi Maiam vice president Mahendran, both from the western region, where the DMK had performed awfully in the April 6 Assembly elections. The DMK had failed to win a single seat in SP Velumani’s native Coimbatore and won a lone seat in Edappadi K Palaniswami’s native Salem district. With Wednesday’s new arrival, the DMK has taken at least half a dozen rival party leaders on board in a month, understandably, to strengthen the organisation or rather weaken the rival AIADMK in the western region. Grapevine has it that the ruling party has made the moves to lure a few sitting AIADMK MLAs too.