In a big setback to AIADMK, former Tamil Nadu Minister Nainar Nagendran and 12 other party leaders on Saturday joined the BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah.
In a big setback to AIADMK, former Tamil Nadu Minister Nainar Nagendran and 12 other party leaders on Saturday joined the BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah, news agency ANI reported. IANS reported that Nagendran belongs to powerful Thevar community in Tamil Nadu and has represented Tirunelveli constituency in the state assembly twice. The former minister lost the election in 2016 by over 600 votes, the report adds. Nagendran held the portfolio for Power and Industry ministry during the regime of Jayalalithaa government in the state. The former Tirunelveli MLA met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi and joined the BJP. Times of India reports that Nagendran was elected as a legislator in the year 2001 and 2011. Nagendran is very popular in Tirunelveli.
The defection of AIADMK leaders comes in the backdrop of a merger between warring O Panneerselvam and E Palaniswami factions in the party. The two factions had recently merged into one with OPS taking charge as Deputy Chief Minister of the state. However, the government is still facing threat from third party faction led by TTV Dinakaran. Earlier in the day, Dinakaran lashed out OPS-EPS factions and said that they can’t buy MLAs from his faction. “They (EPS-OPS faction) cannot buy the MLAs. The MLAs with me want to teach a lesson to those who want to evict General Secretary V.K. Sasikala,” Dinakaran was quoted as saying by ANI.
Dinakaran has seen a rise in support with another AIADMK MLA jumping on board today. In last 48 hours, two more MLAs of the AIADMK have pledged support to Dinakaran taking the strength of his camp to 21. On Saturday, Virudhachalam MLA VT Kalaiselvan became the latest AIADMK leader to pledge his support to Dinakaran.