Modi greets OPS, assures all help

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to congratulate the Tamil Nadu government after the merger of the AIADMK factions and the swearing-in of members of the Panneerselvam faction.

He tweeted: “Centre assures all possible support to chief minister Thiru Edapaddi K. Palaniswami and deputy chief minister Thiru O. Panneerselvam for the growth in Tamil Nadu.” He congratulated “O. Panneerselvam and others who took oath today. I hope Tamil Nadu scales newer heights of progress in the years to come.”

The BJP was also quick to sidestep any suggestion that it had helped in the merger. Speaking to The Hindu, BJP general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu P. Muralidhar Rao said: “Their [the two factions] own interest lies in being united; they seem to have taken a call on the fact that there are four more years left for this government.”

“When you have a stable government in Chennai, one which was supportive of the BJP-led government in Delhi in the recent presidential and vice-presidential polls, we will welcome it. Our attitude is only limited to this context,” he said.

He denied that there was any help provided by the BJP in effecting this merger. “Ultimately, whether it is OPS [O. Panneerselvam] or EPS [Edapaddi K. Palaniswami], the party draws on Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Any faction that destabilises the government or aids the DMK in coming to power risks losing the cadre’s support. We feel both factions have realised it, therefore any talk of our support to any such endeavour is stretching the matter too far,” he said.


Skirts question

Asked if the AIADMK would become part of the ruling NDA at the Centre, he said it was not within his remit to answer the question. “That matter is between the NDA leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, and the AIADMK. I cannot answer that question,” he said.

With BJP president Amit Shah cancelling his three-day tour of Tamil Nadu, which was to begin on Tuesday, because his “presence is required in Delhi for some meetings”, talk of a Cabinet reshuffle this week has gained ground.

BJP sources say three slots in the Union Cabinet may be offered to the AIADMK (a Cabinet Minister and two Ministers of State).

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai may be moved to the Cabinet as his current position is usually held by an MP of an Opposition party.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 4:22:40 AM |

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