Chennai: On a day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled and expanded his Cabinet, its key ally in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK, caused some discomfort only to douse the political fire quickly.
As the day dawned, State BJP leaders were seething in anger to hear that AIADMK second-line leader and former Minister C Ve Shanmugam had blamed them for the recent debacle in the Assembly elections. Shanmugam had told party workers on Tuesday night that the AIADMK’s alliance with the BJP had alienated minorities causing the defeat.
Even as BJP leaders reacted angrily with its general secretary C T Raghavan claiming that the BJP had suffered because of the AIADMK’s anti-incumbency baggage, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam voluntarily put out a statement on Twitter insisting that his party had complete faith in the BJP and Modi and the alliance would last.
Panneerselvam’s reaction was seen as an attempt to get his son O P Raveendranath Kumar into the Union Cabinet. However, that did not happen with the BJP leadership only rewarding its State president L Murugan with a Ministry.
While the swearing-in of the new ministers was under way, former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Panneerselvam issued a joint statement declaring unequivocally that the alliance formed by the AIADMK during the Assembly elections remained intact and would continue. “Let there be no doubt among anyone at any point of time on this matter,” they said.
Sources said the AIADMK, being in the opposition, could not afford to antagonise the BJP, which is in power at the Centre now. That is why the leadership chose to end all doubts overlooking what a senior leader like Shanmugam said.