Fresh from her spectacular victory, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa will travel to New Delhi mid-June to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Union ministers for detailed discussions on issues concerning the state. But, the BJP is trying to use Ms Jayalalithaa’s visit to convince her to join the National Democratic Alliance.
Mr Modi, personally overseeing BJP’s efforts to strengthen the NDA, is expected to broach the topic of AIADMK’s inclusion in the alliance, not necessarily the Union Cabinet, when she calls on him on June 14, the most likely date for the meeting.
Ms Jayalalithaa, sources in Chennai said, is likely to undertake a two-day visit to New Delhi for discussions with Mr Modi and other ministers on issues like financial package for Tamil Nadu, water issues with neighbouring states and the issue of fishermen being arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The Chief Minister is also expected to seek “generous” financial assistance from the Centre to fund her pet projects. Though the Prime Minister and the BJP government would heed to the requests made by Ms Jayalalithaa, the BJP seems to be interested completely in discussing politics with the AIADMK chief. BJP president Amit Shah has launched efforts to strengthen the NDA in its pursuit to “achieve Congress-free India” and want to rope in the AIADMK, which has a combined strength of 49 MPs in Parliament.
“The Jayalalithaa-Modi meeting is being keenly watched by all parties. The BJP wants to formalise the relationship with AIADMK. The AIADMK has been on the BJP’s side as far as Parliament is concerned and now the time has come for the Dravidian party to be in the alliance,” a senior BJP leader said.
Since the Chief Minister shares an excellent rapport with Union ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad, the sources said the two senior leaders are expected to meet the AIADMK chief during her visit to New Delhi to persuade her to join the NDA. Mr Venkaiah had represented Mr Modi at Ms Jayalalithaa’s swearing-in as Chief Minister on May 23.
Not just the BJP, its allies especially the TDP seems to be more interested in the AIADMK joining the NDA. Top TDP sources told DC that the party would absolutely have no objections to the AIADMK joining the BJP-led NDA and that they would be happy if the tie-up materialises.