Four union ministers have quit the government, making it clear that a new cabinet will be formed, most likely tomorrow. However, sources in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the AIADMK, say reports of them bagging cabinet spots are incorrect – they point out that the party has yet to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coalition or announce any formal alliance which would allow their representatives into his cabinet. “PM Modi hasn’t even called us,” said a source who asked not to be named.
BJP chief Amit Shah met yesterday several of the ministers who have already resigned or have been told they should today. Placed in between those one-on-one sessions was a consult with M Thambidurai of the AIADMK, building up talk of the regional party joining the government.
But sources in Tamil Nadu say that Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his Deputy O Panneerselvam, the leaders of the two factions of the AIADMK who recently shelved their differences to reunite after a six-month feud, have not discussed a change in their relationship with the BJP. Their merger followed independent chats with PM Modi in Delhi last month. Senior leaders of the BJP have said that a united AIADMK is of benefit since the party often supports the government on important legislation, particularly in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP and its allies are in a minority.
The top leaders of the AIADMK, on the other hand, reportedly feel that the recently reunited factions could be strained with squabbling over who gets to join the cabinet should the party move to partner with the BJP, and it’s safer for now to focus on building unity within, especially in the light of a new play to run the party by TTV Dhinakaran, who the AIADMK has moved to expel.