M. K. Alagiri
|M. K. Alagiri|
|Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers|
13 June 2009 - 20 March 2013
|Preceded by||Ram Vilas Paswan|
January 30, 1951 |
|Political party||Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam|
|As of June 13, 2009|
Muthuvel Karunanidhi Azhagiri, commonly known as M. K. Alagiri, is an Indian politician and was a Cabinet Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers from 13 June 2009 - 20 March 2013. He is the second son of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazagham, Karunanidhi and his second wife Dayalu Ammal. He has two daughters and a son and he resides in Madurai. Azhagiri graduated from the Presidency College in Chennai with a BA degree. His interests are to improve living standards of rural poor and supporting NGOs. His favourite past times include playing cricket and other games. He has visited and has been part of visiting delegation to various countries.
Azhagiri was appointed as the organizing secretary of the Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam party for southern districts following the by-poll victories in the state in 2008. Azhagiri was given the ticket for Madurai Lok Sabha Constituency in 2009 general elections, which he won eventually and later went on to become a cabinet minister. Azhagiri is accused as one of the non-performing ministers in the government as he rarely attended office and never replied to questions raised against his ministry in the parliament. Following the irregularities quoted by his junior minister Srikanth Jena, there were allegations by certain section of media of a possible scam to an extent of 1,000 crores in the fertiliser ministry.
Azhagiri's name is associated with various controversies including conspiring in the murder of the former DMK Minister, T. Kiruttinan in 20 May 2003, initiating cash-for-vote in Tamil Nadu from Thirumangalam by-elections, Dinakaran Attack case in which the Madurai office of the newspaper Dinakaran was lit and three employees were killed and Dhaya Cyber Tech Park land grab case. He is seen as the party strong man in Southern districts of Madurai. There have been various clashes in the state between his supporters and the ones of his younger brother M.K.Stalin over the question of succession and leadership of the party. He is also accused to inducing his strongmen in the party, who otherwise have criminal cases against them.
Azhagiri is the second son of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Karunanidhi and his second wife Dayalu Ammal. He is believed to have spent his early life under the tutelage of his father and after his marriage on 10 December 1972, settled in Madurai. His wife is Kanthi Azhagiri and the pair have two daughters Kayalvizhi and a son Dayanidhi Azhagiri. Azhagiri graduated from the Presidency College in Chennai with a BA degree. His interests are to improve living standards of rural poor and supporting NGOs. His special interest are towards healthcare and rural development. His favourite past times include playing cricket and other games. He has visited and has been part of visiting delegation to countries like Australia, European Countries, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Newzealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America. He was appointed the Organising Secretary, DMK South Zone, following victory in the Thirumangalam by-elections.
Role in DMK
Karunanidhi always appeared to prefer his younger son, M. K. Stalin, former mayor of Chennai and former Deputy Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, for succeeding him as the leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Alagiri shifted his base to Madurai during 1989 and did not hold any post officially in the party. In spite of holding no posts, he was all in command in the Madurai region and senior leaders in the party were unhappy about the factionalism created within the party. The DMK general secretary, K Anbazhagan, in 2001, directed the party men to have any contact with Azhagiri. During the period of 2008, Azhagiri was instrumental in the party winning three by-elections, the notable of which was Thirumangalam, where the party won with a massive difference. Based on the victory, Azhagiri was appointed as the organizing secretary of the party for southern districts. Following the by-poll victories in the state, Azhagiri was given the ticket for Madurai Lok Sabha Constituency in 2009 general elections, which he won eventually and later went on to become a cabinet minister. He was also accused of inducting his close aides, who otherwise had criminal background, in party roles. After the 2011 state elections, when the opposing ADMK came to power, most of them like "Attack" Pandi, an accused in the Dinakaran attack case, G Thalapathy, former MLA, "Essar" Gopi, accused in the murder of former DMK Minister Tha Kiruttinan, P M Mannan, also an accused in the Kiruttinan case, were all arrested in various land grabbing and other criminal charges.
There were wide spread fights between the supporters of Azhagiri and Stalin frequently. The succession crisis came out to a peak when party members loyal to Alagiri attacked the Madurai office of Dinakaran and set it to fire, in which three staff were killed. Dinakaran is a part of the Sun TV group owned by Kalanidhi Maran (son of Murasoli Maran), the grand-nephew of Karunanidhi. The newspaper published a higher prominence for Stalin over Azhagiri.
|Year||Constituency||Result||Vote percentage||Opposition Candidate||Opposition Party||Opposition vote percentage|
T. Kiruttinan case
Azhagiri was accused as the main conspirator in the murder of the former Highways Minister, Pasumpon T. Kiruttinan, in 20 May 2003. Kiruttinan was hacked to death by unidentified men while he was out for a morning walk near his residence in KK Nagar, Madurai. The next day Azhagiri was arrested on charges of conspiring the murder due to intra-party conflict, along with other accused, namely P.M. Mannan who later became the Deputy Mayor of Madurai city, Essar Gobi, Madurai Corporation councillor I. Mubaraq Manthiri and V. Sivakumar (alos called "Karate" Siva). Alagiri was held as the main accused and charged with criminal conspiracy, murder and abetment. The case was transferred to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh after the DMK came to power in the state in 2006, based on an order by Supreme Court of India. He was acquitted by the Principal District and Sessions Court in May 2008. The Madurai Police planned to appeal against the order in the Supreme Court as of July 2013 after a gap of five years from the judgement of the lower court. A leave petition was filed in the Supreme Court by the state, challenging the order of the Chitoor Court in September 2013. The petition was quashed by the Supreme Court counsel, which ruled that the state of Tamil Nadu had no locus standi in the case as it was transferred to Andhra Pradesh and that only the government of Andhra Pradesh can appeal against the lower court judgement.
According to secret cables revealed by Wikileaks through The Hindu, he gave away 5000 as a bribe to each voter through the morning newspaper in the January 2009 Assembly by-election at Thirumangalam and around 500 per voter in the 2009 Parliamentary elections. The by-election is believed to have started the cash-for-vote in Tamil Nadu.
Dinkaran attack case
In 2007 May, Dinakaran, the newspaper run by Kalanidhi Maran, the elder brother of Dayanidhi, ran into a controversy when it published the results of a series of opinion polls which showed M. K. Stalin, the second son of Karunandhi, having more approval (70%) than his elder brother M. K. Azhagiri (2%) as the political heir of Karunanidhi. It also showed others as 20%, possibly indicating Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi. The Madurai office of Dinakaran was fire bombed by supporters of Alagiri and three employees were killed The Sun TV office in Madurai was also attacked by the perpetrators. A day after the incident, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi came to Chennai for felicitating Karunanidhi for 50 years in legislative assembly. Daynaidhi Maran, who usually accompanies Karunanidhi on every function, discarded the event as a mark of protest. On 13 May, the DMK administrative committee empowered Karunanidhi to remove Dayanidhi from the party. This subsequently led to his resignation from the central ministry. Karunanidhi family started Kalaignar TV to counter Sun TV of the Marans that started focusing on opposition leaders who were voiceferous on Alagiri and also covering the 2G Specturm Scam on minister A Raja, the DMK minister replacing Dayanidhi in the Union IT ministry. There were several attempts of reconciliation by the Marans, with two public meeting, once during Stalin's birthday in March 2008 and other during May when Karunanidhi was discharged from a Chennai hospital having been treated for neck and back pain. But when the Marans went to greet Karunanidhi on his 85th birthday on 3 June 2008, they were made to wait for an hour before finally denying entry. The family later reconciled with the efforts of Selvi, the eldest daughter of Karunanidhi and M K Stalin. While the reason for reconciliation is not known, it was rumoured that the family reconciled to keep the third wife, Rajathi and her daughter Kanimozhi away from the family – that Kanimozhi was missing in the family reunion picture supported this argument.
Land grab case
In 2011, a series of land grab cases were filed against Alagiri's close associates and several of them have been arrested. It was alleged that Kanthi Alagiri, the wife of Alagiri bought lands worth 20 crores for 85 lakh from a lottery seller named Santiago Martin, who had 50 criminal cases against him. The deal took place soon Alagiri became a central minister. According to the allegation, the family owned Dhaya Cyber Tech Park was built in a 4 acres (16,000 m2) land out of the 23 acres (93,000 m2) belonging to a temple in Uthangudi near Madurai. Alagiri family refuted the claims stating that it is a vendetta politics by the opposing ADMK, which ruled the state when the charges were leveled. The family were cleared off the charges by rural police in September 2011 that ran the investigation. Subsequently, the Corporation of Madurai recovered 8 cents of land from Dhaya Cyber Tech Park on 26 February 2013, that were enchroached. The concrete wall, trees and lawn in the enchroached land were demolished by the Corporation officials amidst tight security.
Tenure as Chemical Minister
Azhagiri was appointed as the cabinet minister of Chemical and Industries in the Union Cabinet, following UPA victory in the 2009 Indian Parliamentary Elections. He won his elections from the Madurai parliamentary constituency securing 430,688 votes against his next competitor P. Mohan from CPM, who secured 290,157 votes. During his early tenure, he requested the speaker of Lok Sabha to allow him to answer in Tamil, while senior Lok Sabha officials wanted him to answer in English or Hindi following precedents. Jena, the State minister of the ministry, answered all the questions raised in the parliament on behalf of Azhagiri. There were protests by the opposition party members in the Lok sabha during the Budget session in 2010 over the absence of Azhagiri. In January 2013, the Union minister of state for the Chemical and Industry ministry, Srikanth Kumar Jena, accused Azhagiri of inaction as a senior minister, in the alleged misuse of government subsidies by the fertiliser companies. He accused Azhagiri of not responding to any of his five letters he wrote to his senior colleague between March and August 2012. In his letters, he complained that the fertiliser companies, in spite of utilizing one third of the subsidies provided to the farmers, kept raising the prices of the fertilisers. The farm gate price of a couple of most-used fertilizers raising to the level of 24,000 during June 2012, supported his argument. Following the irregularities quoted by Jena, there were allegations by certain section of media of a possible scam to an extent of 1,000 crores in the fertiliser ministry. There were also allegations of nexus between the corrupt official in the ministry with the fertiliser companies, who together dictated the government policy on fertilizers.
Azhagiri is accused as one of the non-performing ministers in the government as he rarely attended office and never replied to questions raised against his ministry in the parliament. He was also alleged to have preferred only officers from Tamil Nadu in his office on account of his lack of proficiency in languages other than Tamil. It was also alleged that his office was ruled by his personal staff, while the officers had to carry important files to him to Madurai for clearance.
DMK pulled out of the ruling UPA on 20 March 2013 following widespread protests in Tamil Nadu against the central government for not taking up the concerns of Tamils in Sri Lanka in the UN resolution against the alleged human rights violation against Tamils by Sri Lankan government. Azhagiri resigned from his ministry along with other ministers from DMK. There was a brief controversy when Azhagiri did not accompany the contigency lead by T.R. Baalu, the head of MPs from the DMK party, to tender resignation in the Prime minister's office and to hand over the letter of withdrawal to the President on 20 March 2013. It was claimed as a mark of protest against his father Karunanidhi's decision to pull out from the central ministry. Some sources claim he delayed his resignation as he was not kept in the loop while taking the decision. Following his resignation, Srikanth Jena was appointed the minister of Chemical and Fertilizers.
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Ram Vilas Paswan
|Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers
13 June 2009 - 20 March 2013
Srikant Kumar Jena