AIADMK may not be part of council of ministers during Cabinet expansion

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New Delhi, Aug 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not keen to take representatives from the AIADMK into his council of ministers when the Cabinet expansion takes place in mid-September.

The reason is that the three warring factions of the AIADMK have still not merged as one party and appropriated the two leaves symbol.

The BJP will consider inducting the AIADMK into the NDA only if the Election Commission allots the two leaves symbol to a unified party.

The BJP needs an alliance with the AIADMK to face not just the Panchayat elections in Tamil Nadu, but also the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Insiders in the AIADMK also confirm that three main points were discussed at the meeting between former Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam and Narendra Modi. The PM asked that the two factions should merge; the DMK should be pushed towards the Congress so that they do not pose a challenge to the AIADMK and a distance should be kept from “Mannargudi Mafia”. Mannargudi mafia is a term to describe the clique which consists of VK Sasikala’s immediate relatives that had a strong influence on the first term of J Jayalalithaa as CM.

So far, AIADMK leaders from both the E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam groups have made eight visits to New Delhi to meet BJP leaders, including the Prime Minister, since the death of J Jayalalithaa in December.

Two key ministries defence and environment are without a full-time minister. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan are holding the additional charge of these two portfolios respectively.

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