Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 3. She, along with her 37 MPs, had boycotted Modi’s swearing-in, protesting the decision to invite Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. AIADMK is the third largest party in the new Lok Sabha.
But now that she has registered her protest, the Chief Minister has moved on to business, deciding to call on Modi at his South Block office on Tuesday. A statement from the government Friday said Jayalalithaa would submit a memorandum that contains some of the “very crucial issues… pending with the Government of India”.
It “will also highlight some issues which require the urgent attention of the Government of India to safeguard the legitimate interests of the state and to propel the state on a faster growth path,” said the statement.
Jayalalithaa has been raising several issues with the Centre, including river water disputes with neighbours, issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils and fishermen from the state, allocation of PDS and kerosene, relief package among others. Having been a chief minister himself, Modi will be open to many of these demands, which will also offer a platform for the two parties to work together. However, some issues like the Cauvery river water dispute with Karnataka, a state where BJP has a political stake unlike Tamil Nadu, may not be easy to defuse.
As chief ministers who were bitter political rivals of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, Modi and Jayalalithaa have long shared good rapport that seemingly went beyond political understanding to personal relationship. They attended each other’s swearing-in, referred to one another as “good friend”, and had political compatibility — at least according to observers and a section in the national party. But, ahead of the general election where both saw an opportunity for themselves to play a much bigger role in Delhi, AIADMK refused to align with any including BJP, while the latter formed a coalition that included some of her rivals.
Modi’s charge that the Dravidian leaders, including herself, gave importance to vindictive politics rather than people’s welfare, prompted Jayalalithaa to return fire during the election campaigns. But even at the height of the election campaign, both stayed clear of the most sensitive charge against each other — Gujarat riots for Modi and disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa — indicating an intent to play safe unlike the all out attack on all other rivals.