New Delhi: It may not have had a successful run in the Lok Sabha elections, but the AIADMK is set to make a comeback in the Union cabinet after a gap of 20 years.
The party’s lone MP in the Lok Sabha, OP Ravindranath Kumar, the son of Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, will reportedly be part of Narendra Modi’s second cabinet and received a phone call informing him of the same on Thursday morning.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Ravindranath invoked the late Jayalalithaa and said: “It’s all Amma’s blessings. That is all I can say now.”
Ravindranath contested from Theni district and won by a margin of over 53,000 votes, the only NDA candidate to have won from Tamil Nadu. But the race for the cabinet berth was between OP Ravindranath and AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam. While the OPS camp pushed for Ravindranath, TN Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s loyalists wanted Vaithilingam to get the cabinet berth.
The AIADMK was last part of the Union cabinet in 1998 when Jayalalithaa pulled the plug on the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Ravindranath began learning the ropes of politics after he became a member of the AIADMK in 1999. During this time, he helped many contestants in electioneering, including AIADMK’s most bitter rival, TTV Dhinakaran.
In an earlier interview to CNN-News18, Ravindranath said: “I have been a member of the AIADMK since 1998 after I graduated from college. Since then, I’ve worked for elections in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2014.”
Ravindranath lost the party membership in 2016 ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly polls as OPS was sidelined by Jayalalithaa reportedly for amassing wealth. Ravindranath, however, made a comeback as the secretary of the Theni district unit of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Peravai in May 2018.
He had earlier said that if elected to the Lok Sabha, he would use the platform to further the interests of Tamil Nadu at the Centre.