Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and signalled that the AIADMK could provide issue-based support to his government in the Rajya Sabha where it is in a minority. Keen to re-establish its friendly ties with the Dravidian party, the BJP too walked the extra mile sending three of its ministers, including Ravi Shankar Prasad, to Tamil Nadu House to meet and greet her.
Jayalalithaa and Modi — known to share a good rapport with each other — had crossed swords during the election campaign. She did not attend his swearing-in as well apparently because of the invitation extended by Modi to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. On Tuesday, both Modi and Jayalalithaa signalled their intention to bury the past and start afresh. The meeting lasted for around 50 minutes.
“It was very useful and I hope it will prove to be rewarding,” she said afterwards.
Three ministers — Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and P Radhakrishnan — then met the CM separately. Sources said that Jayalalithaa appeared elated over the defeat of the Congress and told one of the ministers that while Modi decimated the Congress all over the country, she did the same in Tamil Nadu.
However, she is not in a hurry to join the NDA. Sources said that she would prefer to offer issue-based support to the NDA government in the Rajya Sabha and keep open her party’s relevance. The AIADMK has 10 members in the Upper House.
“There was no such talk (of her party joining the NDA) and no such proposal,” she said. On her party supporting the government from outside, particularly in the Rajya Sabha, she said, “The NDA has got an independent majority. For that matter, the BJP itself has got an independent majority. They do not need support from outside. We will see when the situation arises.”
Jayalalithaa handed over a 65-page memorandum to Modi listing out the state’s demands. “The people of the country have great expectations from you and your government. Tamil Nadu is no exception. We were systematically ignored and discriminated against by the former UPA government, particularly since May 2011 when I assumed office. I look forward to that trend completely changing under your guidance,” she said in a separate letter to Modi.
Her particular focus was on additional allocation of resources for Tamil Nadu, Sri Lankan Tamil issue and expediting the formation of a supervisory committee for raising the water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement allowing raising of the water level to 142 ft. She also demanded implementation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal by setting up the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.
She also met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and spoke of issues related to Goods and Services Tax, release of pending claims for compensation due to central sales tax rate reduction, shortfalls in release of central grants amongst others.