OPS meets PM Narendra Modi
The brewing discontent between the merged factions of the AIADMK was evident yet again on Thursday when Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi along with his supporter and Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan.
Though Mr. Panneerselvam claimed he raised various demands of the State, including its need for sufficient coal supply for power generation with the Prime Minister and handed over a memorandum, Electricity Minister P. Thangamani, who was in the national capital too, was not present during the Deputy Chief Minister’s meeting with Mr. Modi.
On his part, Mr. Panneerselvam claimed politics was not discussed during themeeting. This was his first meeting with the Prime Minister since the merger of the AIADMK factions and after his taking over as the Deputy Chief Minister.
When reporters asked him about claims of differences between him and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Mr. Panneerselvam brushed them aside and claimed there was “no truth” in speculations that he and his supporters were being side-lined. He and Mr. Palaniswami were together in realising the objectives of party founder M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, he claimed.
Replying to persistent queries over his personal equation with the Chief Minister, he said it was good. “The Chief Minister consults all Ministers, including me over significant issues,” he said and further maintained that he and his supporters had “no resentment”. The objectives of his dharma yuthamwere accomplished and hence the merger, he claimed.
He also brushed aside the demands that his relationship with sand mining baron Shekar Reddy should be probed. “I have no contact with him. Where is the question for any inquiry when I don’t have any contact with him?” he asked.
As to whether his party would accept the faction led by sidelined leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, Mr. Panneerselvam said, “All have to find their way up from the grassroots.”
When a reporter asked him about the use of saffron in banners in government functions, Mr. Panneerselvam said the reporter’s vision had a defect.When asked about the differences between leaders in the party, Mr. Maitreyan told The Hindu, “After merger, there is no question of our men and their men. We are all one.”