Tamil Nadu

OPS, EPS meet Prime Minister in Delhi

Discussing issues: O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami with Prime Minister Modi.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The talk of accommodating former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala in the AIADMK was revived again as party co-ordinator O. Panneerselvam and co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday.

While there was no word from the Prime Minister’s side on what transpired at the meeting that reportedly lasted 20 minutes, Mr. Palaniswami told reporters that he and Mr. Panneerselvam only raised issues of importance to Tamil Nadu. The former Chief Minister did not reply to a question whether the matter of accommodating Ms. Sasikala was discussed.

This was the first meeting of the two leaders with the Prime Minister after their party lost power in the State. In the first part of the meeting, a delegation of MPs and MLAs along with the two leaders met Mr. Modi for about 10 minutes. Among them were M. Thambi Durai, A. Navaneethakrishnan, P. Ravindhranath, S.P. Velumani, Manoj Pandian and Thalavai Sundaram.

The meeting was preceded by a couple of events over the past week. On Sunday evening in New Delhi, there was a meeting between Mr. Panneerselvam and L. Murugan, Union Minister of State for Fisheries and Information and Broadcasting. Five days ago, in Chennai, K. Annamalai, the newly appointed president of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, had one-on-one meetings with the two AIADMK leaders separately.

While some sources in the AIADMK said a rapprochement with Ms. Sasikala had been hinted at by the BJP, a senior leader of the national party said his party did not pursue the matter after Mr. Palaniswami expressed reservations about taking her back into the party, and what Mr. Modi wanted was that the AIADMK should become stronger than what it was. In the run-up to the Assembly election, the BJP tried to rope in the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), led by Ms. Sasikala’s nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran, into the AIADMK-led front, but the AIADMK and Mr. Palaniswami, in particular, opposed the idea.

In the last two months, Ms. Sasikala, who declared in early March that she would step aside from politics, has been reaching out to her supporters through telephone conversations, audio clips of which are being released by her office almost daily. She has also given interviews to a few media organisations and sought to portray herself as a seasoned politician. Mr. Dhinakaran, whose AMMK tasted defeat in the election, on Sunday announced that he would lead a demonstration in Thanjavur on August 6 on the Mekedatu issue.

Among the issues raised by Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam while meeting Mr. Modi were the adverse consequences of granting permission for Karnataka to go ahead with the Mekedatu dam project, the need for supplying sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the State, the importance of expeditious linking of the Godavari with the Cauvery and the problems faced by fishermen in the Palk Strait region. The former Chief Minister said he and the AIADMK coordinator thanked Mr. Modi for having taken part in the election campaign.

Asked whether the exit of several functionaries and former Ministers from the party was a sign of their dissatisfaction with the leadership, Mr. Palaniswami said those who did not get the nomination in the Assembly election had left the party. “No volunteer of the party is feeling dissatisfied [with the leadership]. Otherwise, how would we have won 75 seats?” he shot back.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 8:24:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ops-eps-meet-prime-minister-in-delhi/article35551433.ece

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