Reacting to the revelation by OPS, senior minister D Jayakumar said the "suggestion" could have been made during a one-on-one meeting between Modi and OPS.
Giving credence to Tamil Nadu Opposition parties' charge that BJP played an active role in the rebellion and subsequent merger of the AIADMK factions, Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK's coordinator O Panneerselvam revealed on Saturday that PM Modi had asked him to merge his faction with the one led by CM E Palaniswami and be part of the government. "I shall do that when time comes", OPS said while addressing a meeting of the AIADMK office-bearers at Theni late Friday. The merger took place in August 2017.
In a sensational revelation, Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam said he made a decision to merge his faction with another faction led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I told him (Modi) I don't want to be part of the government and just a role in the party would be enough".
OPS further said that he had conveyed the same to two of his cabinet colleagues from the Palaniswami camp prior to the merger, and that they also insisted he accept a minister's post. But then, both the AIADMK as well as the BJP denied that Modi had any hand in the affairs of the party or the state government, after the death of J Jayalalithaa. I agreed but said that I will not become a minister and will only take party position. Dairy development minister KT Rajenthira Balaji sought to brush aside the whole issue saying that the deputy CM might have said this in a lighter vein and denied any connection between the AIADMK and the Prime Minister. "That is why I am a minister today". In 2014, Jayalalithaa and her confidante Sasikala were convicted in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case.
At the Theni meeting, Panneerselvam had charged that Sasikala's family members tried to work for his defeat in the 2016 polls. Sasikala, however, could not become the chief minister due to her conviction in the graft case. If anybody else would have been in his place he/she would have committed suicide and faced all the nemesis because of Amma (Jayalalithaa). "(But) I tolerated everything for Amma", he said.
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