Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam.(PTI file photo)
Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam.(PTI file photo)

I merged with Palaniswami faction of AIADMK on PM Modi’s suggestion: Panneerselvam

The deputy CM had broken away from the party last year after he was removed as chief minister and the AIADMK anointed VK Sasikala as the successor to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
By HT Correspondent | KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2018 10:34 PM IST

Two warring factions of Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) merged last May on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the southern state’s deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam has said.

Addressing party workers in his home district of Theni in southern Tamil Nadu, Panneerselvam said he did not want any cabinet position, and conveyed this to Modi, but relented after the PM told him to join the ministry headed by chief minister E Palaniswami. “During a courtesy meeting with the prime minister, he suggested that the two sides can merge…he (Modi) said you (Panneerselvam) could join to save the party,” Panneerselvam told party workers on Friday.

The deputy CM had broken away from the party last year after he was removed as chief minister and the AIADMK anointed VK Sasikala as the successor to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, whose death in 2016 triggered a factional fight. The merger of the two factions in May steadied the government, which ousted Sasikala and put paid to opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) plans of benefiting from the instability.

Reacting to Panneerselvam’s statement, the DMK said there was now official confirmation that Modi interfered in the internal matters of another party. “Modi was manipulating the developments within AIADMK,” DMK spokesperson A Sarvanan said, charging the BJP with running a proxy government in Tamil Nadu. Rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said the truth of the merger was finally out. “There was someone else behind the whole game and now we know who it is,” he said.

Defending Modi, BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathy said there was nothing wrong if the PM advised in the overall interest of the state. State fisheries minister D Jayakumar said the AIADMK would welcome any suggestions for its well-being.

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