M. Karunanidhi, the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on Saturday and discussed, among other things, the Kudankulam atomic power project in Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis the ongoing agitation by the locals apprehending safety.
According to sources, while Mr. Karunanidhi sought to emphasise the need for the Centre to allay the fears of the local villagers who were apprehensive of catastrophe a la the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, Dr. Singh explained the safety features incorporated in the power station for any eventuality.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy, who was present at the meeting briefly, told The Hindu that Dr. Singh explained to Mr. Karunanidhi the benefits Tamil Nadu would get when the 2,000 MW nuclear power plant in Kudankulam becomes operational. Tamil Nadu would be the largest beneficiary of the power produced in the plant. Besides, Dr. Singh referred to the formation of a 15-member high-level experts committee by the Centre to look into the safety concerns raised by environmental activists and local villagers. Dr. Singh reportedly told the DMK patriarch that the Centre would do nothing to threaten the safety or livelihood of any section of society, particularly those living near the plant.
Mr. Karunanidhi had had asked both the State and the Centre to ensure all possible safety measures before going ahead with the commissioning of the plant.
Sources said the DMK chief, who was accompanied by his wife Rajathi Ammal and DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu, also took up the issues of the continued attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan naval personnel, and the early rehabilitation and settlement of Internally Displaced Tamils in the island nation post civil war.
During the 30-minute meeting with the PM, issues such as the detention of his daughter Kanimozhi in Tihar jail in the 2G spectrum allocation case, the registration of an FIR against his grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran by the CBI and political situation in the State under the AIADMK regime were also discussed, sources said.
Earlier, Mr. Karunanidhi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and enquired about her health post surgery. He also discussed politics, and pointed out that this was his first meeting with Ms. Gandhi since Ms. Kanimozhi had been arrested and the DMK-Congress combine was routed in the State Assembly poll in April, said the sources. Asked about the meeting, Congress spokesman Abishek Singhvi said: “Surely the chief of the coalition partner [DMK] is entitled to meet the Congress president. Surely, he is entitled to visit his detained daughter in jail. Surely, there's no politics to be read in a legal process.”
In the evening, the DMK chief and Mrs. Rajathi Ammal met Kanimozhi in Tihar jail and the meeting lasted for 30 minutes.
Law Minister Salman Khursheed and Home Minister P. Chidambaram called on Mr. Karunanidhi at his place of stay.