Express News Service
CHENNAI: Despite a day-long wait, former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam, who is heading the rebel camp in the ruling AIADMK, has left New Delhi without meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP's national president Amit Shah. The two denied him audience.
Sources said Panneerselvam headed to Mumbai this morning. There he may visit the Shirdi Sai Baba temple.
In contrast, chief minister Palaniswami had a busy day on Friday. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, president Ramnath Kovind and vice president Venkaiah Naidu.
Perhaps this is the first time since his revolt against the AIADMK's leadership that Panneerselvam was denied an audience by Modi. His frequent meetings with Modi earlier even made the Opposition leader M K Stalin wonder on what grounds the Prime Minister was giving audience to Panneerselvam.
The BJP's top leadership has so far accorded equal treatment to both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam by listening to concerns raised by both.
But the manner in which the BJP leadership treated Panneerselvam on Friday casts a question mark over the party's commitment to bringing both factions of the AIADMK together for a merger.
There are rumors that Panneerselvam may try to meet Union minister Nitin Gadkari in Mumbai or even try to fly to Bengaluru to meet Amit Shah, who is camping there today.
Meanwhile, when asked about the remark made by Panneerselvam that “The AIADMK (Amma) had only come half way through..let them come across fully,” Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, M Thambidurai quipped: “By his own statement, Panneerselvam has admitted that AIADMK (Amma) had come half way through...so if Panneerselvam too makes a move to cross the rest of the half way, it will conclude in the merger.”
Currently, both factions of the AIADMK are said to be negotiating the terms of a merger
Palaniswami recently announced that TTV Dhinakaran's appointment as the party's deputy general secretary was invalid. Keeping out the party general secretary VK Sasikala and her family, including her nephew Dhinakaran, was one of the key demands raised by the Panneerselvam faction. Many in the BJP wished the same