Signalling a possible realignment of non-UPA,non-NDA parties,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday heaped praises on each other as they shared the dais at a function in Chennai. While Jayalalithaa called Naveen her brother,the latter reciprocated by calling her an excellent administrator.
Over the past few months,both Jayalalithaa and Naveen have displayed camaraderie in their opposition to the National Counter Terrorism Centre with Naveen proposing that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister should head a sub-committee to discuss the frameworks of the anti-terror body. As political circles speculated over Naveens growing proximity to Jayalalithaa,the Orissa Chief Ministers two-day Chennai visit seems to have added fuel to the talk of a new political equation coming up ahead of the 2014 general elections.
Jayalalithaa,who attended the foundation stone laying ceremony of Utkal Bhawan in Chennai,said there was a natural synergy between her and Naveens father and former chief minister Biju Patnaik. Biju Patnaikji left behind a legacy of respect,cooperation and mutual affection. This legacy is reflected in the bond that I continue to share with Naveen Patnaikji,who is like a brother to me, she said.
On his part,Naveen called Jayalalithaa an excellent administrator,who was close to his father. You have set a very high standard for different states in the country to follow, he told Jayalalithaa,referring to a number of anti-poverty schemes run by the Tamil Nadu government.
The Presidential election issue reportedly did not figure at the luncheon meeting the two leaders had at Jayalalithaas Poes Garden residence. If we had discussed anything like that,we would have told you about it, she told reporters.
Political circles in Orissa view Naveens trip beyond the official schedule as Jayalaithaa normally does not grant audience to anyone easily. Naveens visit to Chennai is also significant as he usually does not go out of Orissa except visiting New Delhi for official meetings. It is a clever move by Naveen. By moving closer to Jayalalithaa,he does not want to commit himself to any set-up for the time being. He could have confabulated with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,but he did not as Nitish is already a NDA partner which Jayalalithaas AIADMK is not, said political analyst Rabi Das.
Senior BJD leaders,however,say it was too early to draw conclusions from their party chiefs Chennai visit. The next general election is about two years away. What he (Naveen) is doing today is trying to expose the UPA governments attitude towards states on issues like NCTC as well as apathy towards the states, said BJD leader Damodar Rout.