Chennai: Ten senior Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) functionaries, including three MLAs, on Tuesday were expelled from the party for raising a banner of revolt against the party high command's decision to align with People's Welfare Front (PWF) for the May 16 Assembly polls.
The announcement comes hours after, giving a virtual ultimatum to party chief Vijayakanth to reverse his decision by noon tomorrow, the party's whip in Tamil Nadu Assembly, VC Chandrakumar, MLAs CH Sekar and SR Parthipan, besides seven others, displayed before reporters "a letter to Vijayakanth" dated March 24, questioning his logic behind aligning with PWF.
By immediately sacking them, party sources said, Captain, as Vijayakanth is called by his supporters, has sent a stern message that party's official line should be toed and there was no room for dissent.
Of the expelled functionaries, Chandrakumar, also the DMDK whip in the Assembly, is the most prominent face of the party.
"The decision was not taken in line with the aspirations of party functionaries, workers and people whose sole motive is to throw out the Jayalalithaa government, and this is possible only by aligning with the DMK," Chandrakumar had said.
"The decision to align with PWF is against the wishes of 95 percent of party workers and functionaries who favour a tie-up with DMK," he had further said.
Chandrakumar, representing Erode (East) in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, had said that they were never given an audience by Vijayakanth to discuss the matter after he firmed up the alliance with PWF on March 23 and said the decision had been taken by the actor politician and his wife Premalatha "at their house."
Recalling his association with Vijayakanth since his days in acting in the early 1980s, as a member of the actor's welfare club, Chandrakumar had also said that he and the others were part of building the party and assured their loyalty to their 'Captain'.
However, he had exuded confidence that DMK will win the coming elections and its president M Karunanidhi will become Chief Minister irrespective of whether DMDK aligned with it or not.
Asked if Premalatha and her brother L Sutheesh had a firm say in DMDK aligning with PWF, Chandrakumar reiterated that the "decision was taken at home" but did not elaborate.
Breaking his suspense in the face of actively being wooed by DMK and BJP, Vijayakanth on March 23, firmed up an alliance with PWF, and earned the lion's share of 124 of the 234 seats.
Under the DMDK-PWF poll pact reached last month, Vijayakanth was declared the Chief Ministerial candidate of DMDK-PWF alliance.
DMK had actively wooed Vijayakanth but he surprisingly chose to go with the four-party PWF comprising MDMK led by Vaiko, CPI(M), CPI and Thol Thirumavalavan-headed VCK.
Chandrakumar, along with his colleague S Mohanraj - who did not side with the dissenters - had stood up for DMDK in the Assembly taking on the numerically stronger treasury benches.
CH Sekar and SR Parthiban are the other MLAs expelled. While Sekar is also the party's Tiruvallur East District Secretary, Parthiban is Salem West District secretary.
Other sacked functionaries include party deputy secretary P Murugesan, and high level panel member KR Veerappan.
Vijayakanth also immediately replaced the sacked functionaries by naming new party workers to the posts.
(With Agency inputs)