Nearly six months after he merged his breakaway faction with the ruling camp of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (pictured above) said on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to do so.

Modi told him that the two factions should merge to save the party, Panneerselvam claimed, according to ANI. “I agreed, but said that I will not become a minister and will only take a party position,” he said. Modi, however, did not agree, and told him to “continue with politics”. “That is why I am a minister today,” the deputy chief minister said.

“I don’t want to be a minister,” The Hindu quoted him as saying. “Amma [former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa] had made me an MLA four times and chief minister twice. I can live with that pride.”

In August 2017, the two factions of the AIADMK announced their merger after months of political drama that followed Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. The announcement was made by O Panneerselvam and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami – the leaders of the two camps. After the merger, Panneerselvam became the deputy chief minister, and got the finance ministry portfolio.