Palaniswami Denies 'Political' Talk with PM Modi and Amit Shah; Rules Out Truce with Sasikala
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday wound up his two-day visit to the national capital where he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, saying he raised issues of the state and no politics was discussed with the top BJP leaders. Maintaining that there was still time for the assembly elections in the state, likely in April-May, he said seat sharing formula with the BJP would be finalised once the poll notification was issued.
Talking to reporters here, he also ruled out '100 per cent' any scope for admitting V K Sasikala, aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, into the AIADMK. She was removed from the party by 'Amma' (Jayalalithaa) he added. The chief minister, who is also AIADMK co-coordinator, said his talks with Modi and Shah were aimed at seeking funds for key projects, relief assistance and the state's growth and he submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister.
"There was no talk related to politics. Also, this is not the right time to talk politics. There is (still) time for elections. I am here for the growth of Tamil Nadu," he said. To a question on the number of seats to be allotted to the BJP, Palaniswami, who met Shah on Monday and Modi on Tuesday, said it would be decided after the poll notification.
During an official function attended by Shah in Chennai recently, Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, who is the AIADMK co-ordinator, had said the alliance with BJP would continue for the assembly elections. There were expectations that he could take forward discussions on poll related aspects like seat-sharing with BJP during his visit here.
Though the AIADMK had already announced Palaniswami as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the polls, the BJP did not immediately come forward to endorse it, triggering speculations for sometime. While the BJP initially maintained that the CM nominee would be announced by the NDA leadership, the party later made a climb down and said the AIADMK as the major partner would decide on it.
To a question on Sasikala, he said: "There is 100 per cent no chance for admitting her into AIADMK." Sasikala, undergoing four year imprisonment in a corruption case, is expected to be released on January 27 from Parapana Agrahara Prison in Bengaluru. Palaniswami said he invited Modi to visit Tamil Nadu for launching completed projects, including the Washermanpet-Wimco Nagar Chennai Metrorail extension and lay the foundation stone for new initiatives.
In the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister requested an immediate release of Rs.1,200 crore over extensive damage to crops following the recent Nivar and Burevi cyclones and heavy rains. He said farmers in the state have been affected badly and adequate Central fund has been sought to provide relief.
The memorandum thanked Modi for the release of 40 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by Sri Lanka. The chief minister sought efforts for the release of 12 more fishermen and all the mechanised boats in the custody of the island nation.
He requested Modi to instruct the Defence Ministry to expedite the setting up of the defence industrial corridor, which would enhance the overall industrial development of Tamil Nadu. Early finalisation of the Detailed Project Report for the GodavariCauvery Linkage project, sanction for Cauvery- Gundar linkage, a part of the former, was requested.
Financial support of Rs.713.39 crore for "Nadanthai Vaazhi Cauvery" plan to restore Cauvery and its main tributaries and early approval of the Phase-II Chennai Metro Rail Project under the 50:50 equity model were sought. Request to introduce evening flight services between Salem and Chennai under the regional connectivity scheme and direct flight services between Coimbatore and Dubai was also made in the memorandum.