The two leaders, who were among the prominent Dalit faces in their respective parties, met Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and became members of the party, according to an AIADMK press release.
Mr. Ilamvazhuthi was keeping away from active politics after falling out with the DMK leadership, particularly with party treasurer M.K. Stalin.
However, when Mr. Stalin revamped the youth wing of the party he included Mr. Ilamvazhuthi’s son Parithi Ilamsuruthi as one of the office-bearers. He was later made deputy organiser of the North Chennai unit of the party youth wing.
Mr. Ilamvazhuthi single-handedly took on the AIADMK in the Assembly between 1991 and 1996. When the DMK came to power in 1996, he was made Deputy Speaker. He became Minister for Information and Urban Development during the party’s tenure between 2006 and 2011. He had represented Egmore in the Assembly for five times since 1989.
He was arrested for breach of privilege of the Assembly in 2003 when the AIADMK was in power. He was also arrested in 2001 in connection with various charges including attempt to murder.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, Mr. Ilamvazhuthi lost to K. Nallathambi of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), which was then part of the coalition led by the AIADMK.
He resigned as deputy general secretary of the DMK in October 2011, saying he could not continue in the post after the party revoked the suspension of a few persons facing disciplinary action.
Mr. Ilamvazhuthi’s decision followed the party high command’s move to revoke the suspension of general council member K.S.M. Nathan, platform speaker Egmore K. Veerasamy and secretary of division 130 J. Krishnamurthy. They were suspended following a complaint by him.
Mr. Ponnusamy, who held the post of the PMK general secretary during 1999-2004, was a Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas during 1999-2001. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections he lost to Thol. Thirumavalavan of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.
A former central government employee, Mr. Ponnusamy had been associated with the PMK for nearly 15 years. According to him, the PMK had begun to alienate itself from different sections of society by raking up the Vanniya card since 2009. “The PMK’s position on the issue concerning the marriage of Divya-Illavarasan of Dharmapuri was the last straw,” he told The Hindu. However, he said he had no enmity with PMK leaders and he was grateful to PMK founder S. Ramadoss for having given him many opportunities to serve people of the State.
Mr. Ponnusamy said though he had received offers from the Congress, the VCK and the BJP, he chose to join the AIADMK as he felt that Ms Jayalalithaa had “solved” the Cauvery issue through her dedication and determination. She has been handling other issues “admirably and efficiently”, he said adding that he placed no demands with the AIADMK.