Known for his organisational skills, Union Minister and party's strongman M K Alagiri shies away from open electioneering.
But, he is always on the move crisscrossing southern Tamil Nadu giving 'pep talks' to DMK cadre and pushing them to work for the party in this area bequeathed to him by DMK President and his father M Karunanidhi under an unwritten agreement.
Alagiri, whose influence extends right from Madurai to Kanyakumari at the southernmost tip of India, rarely addresses public meetings seeking votes for the DMK-Congress combine and doesn't even speak if he accompanies candidates in some of the constituencies in this temple town.
He is comfortable doing politics in his stronghold than being a minister at the Centre, holding the Chemicals and Fertilizers portfolio.
His aides say he has always believed in the organisational structure of the party which he feels will help it win elections. That is why he does not come out in the open regularly, they said, adding he is always in touch with party leaders and cadres giving them instructions.
Ever since the campaigning for the April 13 Assembly elections began in March-end in this Temple Town where Alagiri has been living for decades during which he virtually brought the party under his control, the 61-year-old elder son of the chief minister has rarely been seen in public.
Alagiri tells cadres how to reach out to the people and convince them to vote for the DMK alliance. He also instructs party cadres, during his whirlwind tour, to create awareness about the welfare schemes implemented by the DMK Government in the past 5 years.
DMK is fighting this election on the plank of development and its "pro-people" policies.
Alagiri gets up early in the morning and begins his day by meeting party candidates of Madurai urban and rural areas and gets an update from them on the situation in their constituencies.
The aides said Alagiri is in constant touch with party secretaries in nine southern districts -- Madurai, Virudhunagar, Theni, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin -- and gets briefing from them on the current situation in their respective districts.
"He has travelled from Madurai to Kanyakumari visiting every district since the elections began. He meets party leaders, candidates and workers and gets to know the situation for himself. He has been crisscrossing the southern region since elections were announced," Alagiri's close aide and party's District Secretary G Thalapathi told PTI here.
Only a couple of times,