Political Pickle

Tamil Nadu is absent in Modi 2.0

Why was Tamil Nadu not represented in the Narendra Modi ministry?

Well, the needle of suspicion points to the two top leaders of the AIADMK who were reportedly not in sync with each other on who should go to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam was in favour of the lone NDA Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, his son P Raveendranath getting a minister of State post while chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami backed senior Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam, citing his seniority and administrative experience in Tamil Nadu. 

With no clarity on any name, AIADMK was stuck off the list. This meant Tamil Nadu had to remain satisfied with two non-AIADMK Tamilians in Nirmala Sitharaman and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar getting into the cabinet. Technically however, Sitharaman is Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka while Jaishankar is yet to become a member of either House. 

The BJP had offered one berth to each of its allies. While the Akali Dal, LJP and Shiv Sena had a minister inducted at the swearing-in ceremony, the JD(U) reportedly refused to accept just one ministry.

OPS had laid it thick during the election campaign itself. He got Modi to campaign for his son in Theni where Raveendranath fell at the PM’s feet, in true AIADMK style the rank and file had patented with Jayalalithaa. After he was elected, the father-son duo was keen on getting a MoS slot in any of the industry-oriented ministries to help with an image makeover for young Raveendranath. 

OPS with PM Modi (File pic)

For EPS, the prospect of Panneerselvam’s son getting into the Union government would have meant stealing a march over him. For an Amma-less AIADMK, this would have given OPS a lever in the corridors of power in New Delhi and more traction with the BJP leadership, something he could exploit. 

Given the daggers drawn interpersonal relations between EPS and OPS, this would have set the CM back in the Game of Thrones. Especially since in the last two years, he has wielded complete control over the party, reducing OPS to a ceremonial deputy CM. In the delicate balance of power within the AIADMK, a deputy CM + Mos at the Centre would have outweighed the CM of Tamil Nadu. 

Though it is not confirmed if the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP had any say in it, but its leaders, many of who are seasoned politicians, would not have been too pleased with a first-time MP like Raveendranath making it to the Union government.

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