Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam admitted that he agreed for a merger with the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK faction on the insistence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking at a party office-bearers meeting on Friday , the AIADMK coordinator said that the issue came up during a courtesy meeting he had with Modi in New Delhi last year.
"PM Modi told me to save party you should merge both AIADMK factions. I agreed but said that I will not become a minister and will only take party position.
PM said 'no no, you should be a minister and continue with politics,' and that is why today I am a minister," OPS was quoted as saying by ANI.
"When I told this to my [present cabinet] colleagues Thangamani and Velumani. They also insisted that I have to be in the government. I don't desire to be a Minister. Amma [Jayalalitha]) had made me an MLA four times and Chief Minister twice. I can live with that pride," he said.
The merger of the two AIADMK factions took place in August 2016. Panneerselvam's revelation comes almost six months after both the warring factions of the AIADMK struck a merger deal under which Palaniswami was made the Chief Minister while Panneerselvam his deputy.