Tamil Nadu

OPS, Semmalai and Pandiarajan may get Cabinet berths

A midnight meeting between representatives of two factions of the All India Anna Dravdia Munentra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Friday brought the two sides closer to clinching a deal on the issue of reunion.

After the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) publicly stated on Friday night that no decision was arrived at, its representatives including former Minister K. P. Munusamy and V. Maitreyan met prominent faces of the AIADMK (Amma) – R. Vaithilingam, Member of Parliament; P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani, Ministers; and trusted lieutenants of Mr. Palaniswami, in Alwarpet and the meeting went on for hours, according to sources.

Broadly, two issues – accommodation within the Cabinet and in the party – were deliberated upon.

Apart from O. Panneerselvam, two more – Semmalai and K. Pandiarajan – may be inducted into the Cabinet. While Mr. Pandiarajan was School Education Minister till February this year and had sided with the Panneerselvam camp since then, Mr. Semmalai was Health and Education Minister during 2001-04.

Even though the Chief Minister is holding two portfolios – Public Works and Highways – in addition to the subjects traditionally held by his predecessors, it is not yet clear whether he will divest himself of either of the portfolios.

As for the party matters, a supervisory committee with Mr. Panneerselvam as chairman and Mr. Palaniswami as co-chair may be set up. Mr. Vaithilingam and Mr. Munusamy may be named as vice-chairpersons.

The committee will have 11 more members. One of the persons involved in the Friday night discussion said such an arrangement is necessary so that workers of the AIADMK (PTA) will “feel secure” in a unified party.

As demanded by Mr. Munusamy and some others of the Panneerselvam camp, the AIADMK (Amma) is likely to come out with a statement disowning jailed interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala.

‘No credibility’

Meanwhile, former Minister P. Palaniappan has ridiculed the talk of a merger.

Pointing out that it was only recently that the AIADMK (PTA) sought police permission for a demonstration against the State government to highlight various issues, and that it had even accused the State government of being corrupt, he said, “After all these, how would the talk of the two groups coming together generate credibility?”

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 9:05:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ops-semmalai-and-pandiarajan-may-get-cabinet-berths/article19526452.ece

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