What remained in the realm of speculation over the last six months got a confirmation on Monday when former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam expressly stated that he discussed the internal affairs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a press conference that was hurriedly concluded in New Delhi on Monday, Panneerselvam said his meeting with Modi involved talks about the prevailing political situation in Tamil Nadu and the functioning of the state government under his rival and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy.

When pressed by reporters on whether the party affairs were discussed, he said all aspects were communicated to the prime minister.

“In general, we spoke about the functioning of the state government, their stands and the various problems that are currently happening was discussed in detail” Panneerselvam said.

Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan, who was translating Panneerselvam’s remarks into English, quickly stepped in to control the damage done and said journalists should not demean the office of the prime minister by claiming that Modi was involved in the internal affairs of a political party. Following this, Panneerselvam concluded the press conference in a hurried manner.

‘Friendly party’

The remarks from Panneerselvam came at a time when speculation was rife that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to bring together the two main factions in the AIADMK, which was split after the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December. However, the BJP has consistently denied any role in the developments, with its leaders merely stating that AIADMK was a friendly party.

The meeting in New Delhi took place on a day when TTV Dhinakaran, the nephew of Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala, is all set to hold his first public meeting in Madurai. The event will be keenly watched as it would reveal the number of legislators backing Dhinakaran and whether he has the potential to bring down the government, which is surviving with a thin majority of 122 legislators in the 233-member Assembly.

Officials in the Dhinakaran camp told Scroll.in that 22 legislators participated in a closed-door meeting he held in a hotel near Madurai on Monday morning. However, it was not clear if all of them had promised their support and would be present at the public meeting in Melur later in the evening.

Last week, office bearers headed by Palaniswamy passed a resolution that invalidated Dhinakaran’s appointment as deputy general secretary in February. This prompted Dhinakaran to brand the Palaniswamy faction as “bunch of 420s”, a reference to the Indian Penal Code section invoked in cases of fraud.