February 17, 2018
Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam admits he merged his faction with EPS led AIADMK on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sparking off opposition attack that TN government was a proxy of the BJP.
Now it is official. Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam has now confirmed what was being suspected by the people and whispered in the corridors of power, that this government has the blessings of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Panneerselvam has confirmed that he had decided to merge his breakaway faction with the ruling AIADMK for the sake of the party on the advice of the Prime Minister. He made this revelation addressing a party meeting at Theni, from where he hails, on Friday evening.
OPS, who had met the prime minister as the chief minister of the state and also as the leader of the breakaway faction, said that prime minister had gave him the advice to merge his faction with the ruling faction led by Edapaddi Palaniswami.
OPS had revolted against the then party general secretary VK Sasikala and resigned as the chief minister in January 2017 after he was being pushed around by Sasikala and her henchmen. In fact, Sasikala wanted him out to make way for herself, but sadly her conviction in the DA case put paid to her chief ministerial dreams. It was then that Sasikala handed over the reigns of the government to Edapaddi Palaniswami.
Soon, Palaniswami began emerging as his own man and began ignoring Sasikala and her directions around the time when OPS was touring the state as an aggrieved party playing the victim card. He was gaining popularity and was potentially emerging as a person who could topple the government or at best weaken the government.
Around that time, on the advice of the prime minister, OPS merged his faction and even assumed office as the deputy chief minister as per a compromise formula worked out between the two sides. It was being mentioned at that time that whole drama was directed from Delhi, but without proof.
And now the beans have been spilled by OPS himself while addressing party office bearers in Theni on Friday.
“Prime minister wanted me to join the ministry headed by Palaniswami,” OPS said adding that he had no desire to be a minister at all.
“That is why I am a minister today. I have no desire to be a minister. Amma (Jayalalithaa) made me MLA four times and chief minister twice. That honour itself is enough for me,” he told the gathering.
Panneerselvam took over as chief minister twice — in 2001 and later in 2014 — when Jayalalithaa was convicted in two different cases.
Panneerselvam’s admission only invited sharp criticism from the DMK.
A senior DMK leader said that OPS admission only goes to prove that this is a government ruled by proxy by the BJP from Delhi.
A charge that is dismissed by state fisheries minister, D Jayakumar who declined to make a comment on OPS statement. “If any advice came from anyone, if it is good, we can always take,” Jayakumar said.
BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan responded that she could not make a comment and that the question of advice should be posed to OPS.
She said, “during a conversation, the prime minister may have said something but I don’t have a right to give an opinion on that. “He (Modi) might have given suggestion, there could have been an exchange of ideas, you should only ask him (Panneerselvam).”