Alagiri quits Cabinet, wants Raja sacked from DMK posts: Sources

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Chennai:  It's once again open war within the DMK's first family - four months before Tamil Nadu votes.

Party chief M Karunanidhi's son, MK Alagiri has reportedly submitted his resignation from the Cabinet and as Organising Secretary for the DMK to his father. Mr Alagiri is Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Mr Alagiri is reportedly demanding that his father sack A Raja, at the centre of the 2G Telecom scam, from his party position as "Propaganda Secretary." Mr Alagiri has also said he wants to concentrate on state politics, turf that had been reserved for his brother, MK Stalin, by his father.

Mr Raja was forced to resign as Telecom Minister in November after the government's auditor blamed him for costing the government upto 1.76 lakh crores by deliberately mishandling the allocation of mobile licenses in 2008.

Mr Alagiri's resignation from his DMK office is being seen as a pressure static designed to land his supporters more seats for the Tamil Nadu elections.

Sources say Mr Alagiri's resignation letter was submitted last evening to his father, and that the Prime Minister's office has yet to receive it.

He has been upset with his step-sister, Kanimozhi, who is a Rajya Sabha MP. Transcripts of phone conversations with PR tycoon Niira Radia reveal a Kanimozhi protégé and state minister Poongothai making unflattering remarks about Mr Alagiri. Radia's phone was tapped in 2008 and 2009 as part of an income tax inquiry. Her conversations with industrialists, politicians and bureaucrats have become a vital part of the investigation into the 2G scam. Radia is accused of lobbying for Mr Raja to return as Telecom Minister in 2009 after the UPA won the general elections. She reportedly then pushed for Mr Raja to favour her clients who wanted mobile licenses.

Mr Alagiri's rivalry with his brother over who would be their father's successor as DMK Chief is also common knowledge. Mr Stalin is seen as his father's choice for taking over not just as DMK head but as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Mr Alagiri was deputed to the union cabinet by his father in the hope of creating some distance between his warring sons. However, those close to Mr Alagiri says he has been desperate to return to Tamil Nadu to play a heavyweight role in state politics. In his note to his father, he has allegedly said that his discomfort with Hindi makes him an uneasy fit at the Centre.



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