Is O. Panneerselvam lobbying for a berth for his son?

The AIADMK-led front may have managed to win just one Lok Sabha seat in the State, but that did little to douse speculation in political circles on Friday whether Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s son, P. Raveendranath Kumar, the victorious candidate from Theni, would be included in the Union Council of Ministers.

Sources in the BJP said that the Deputy Chief Minister had been lobbying with the national party for his son’s inclusion in the Ministry. Considering the fact that Mr. Raveendranath Kumar is a first-time MP, he may, in the event of making it to the Ministry, only get a Minister of State or Deputy Minister berth.

But the State unit of the BJP seems to be miffed at the prospect of a first-time MP becoming a Minister.

Already upset that none of its five candidates could become an MP and the dismal performance of the alliance in general, leaders of the BJP in the State claim Mr. Panneerselvam and his son started lobbying even during the campaign.

The Deputy CM even managed to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a rally in Theni, even though there was no such plan originally. There, his son touched Mr. Modi’s feet to seek his blessings.

For Mr. Panneerselvam, a ministry allotted to his son would lend some semblance of a balance of power vis-a-vis the EPS faction, though they claim to work together.

Senior AIADMK leaders, while not disputing the reports, said that they are clueless about any such move to include Mr. Raveendranath Kumar in the Union Ministry.

Clarity after the meet

But, what is clear is that both Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and the Deputy Chief Minister have been invited to attend a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance in New Delhi on Saturday evening. Clarity may emerge after the meeting.

On record, State BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan and former State president L. Ganesan said that the decision would be left to Mr. Modi. “[Mr.] Modi knows who to appoint. He knows the work of every candidate and knows them personally,” Mr. Ganesan said.

Ms. Tamilisai added that ultimately it was the party leadership that would take a call. “We respect the decisions of the Central leadership and we have an organised structure that we value and follow diligently,” she said.

“As of now, they [AIADMK] already have 13 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. So I am sure the leadership will look at everything and take a decision. Plus, we need to see how there can be some representation from our party here. The full picture may emerge in the coming days,” another leader said.

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