Chennai: Sending a stern message to the party rank and file, DMDK chief Vijayakanth on Tuesday sacked 10 senior functionaries, including the propaganda secretary, from the party, hours after they questioned his decision to align with PWF for the 16 May Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.
"Since they violated party discipline, besmirched and brought disrepute to the reputation of the party, they are expelled from their respective posts and primary membership of the party," Vijayakanth said in a statement.
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, propaganda secretary VC Chandrakumar, also the DMDK whip in the Assembly, is the most prominent face of the party.
The crackdown came hours after Chandrakumar led other party functionaries, including two other MLAs, in demanding Vijayakanth to go with DMK and questioned his decision to align with the People's Welfare Front (PWF).
Claiming that the decision to align with PWF was against the wishes of 95 percent of party workers and functionaries, they also virtually gave an ultimatum to Vijayakanth to go back on his decision by noon Wednesday and align with DMK.
Under the DMDK-PWF poll pact reached last month, Vijayakanth was declared the chief ministerial candidate and his party allotted a lion's share of 124 of the 234 Assembly seats with the PWF getting 110.
DMK had actively wooed Vijayakanth but the latter in a surprise decision 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.