Did the state unit of BJP underestimate Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s personal equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi or was it rather hasty when it took on her during the recent Assembly election, especially raising the “CM inaccessible” issue? Nevertheless, post poll and after Ms Jayalalithaa’s Delhi visit the state leaders are left with no option but to justify her meeting with PM.
This sudden embarrassment apart, the party here finds itself on sticky wicket on several crucial issues like the Katchatheevu, releasing of seven convicts in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and ‘corruption remark.’ As various political parties including the ruling AIADMK demand the Centre to retrieve Katchatheevu and thereby end the killings of innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy, the BJP claims retrieval would not resolve the fishermen’s problems.
“Retrieving Katchatheevu is not a solution. That’s why we are talking about encouraging deep sea fishing,” BJP state general secretary Vanathi Srinivasan explained.
The row over this uninhabited islet in the Palk Strait, ceded to Sri Lanka by the then PM Indira Gandhi through the Indo-Sri Lankan maritime agreement to settle maritime boundary in the Palk Strait, with her counterpart Srimavo Bandaranaike, has become emotive with the Sri Lankan government refusing to give up the islet.
“It is not just the Centre even the state government has the onus to prevent the killings of our fishermen. It could hold talks with them and find out why they cross the boarders. State could evolve a concrete plan for the fishermen,” BJP state president Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan said.
As to granting remission to Rajiv Gandhi assassins, the party here wants them released as per law. Though Mr Modi visited the state thrice and addressed four rallies during the run up to the Assembly election, he neither directly targeted Ms Jayalalithaa nor made any veiled references. And post Ms Jayalalithaa’s meeting with PM, the party is unable to respond to opposition charge over party’s national chief Amit Shah who accused the AIADMK of being the “most corrupt” while campaigning in the state.
Interestingly, only Union ministers: Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan who are from TN called on the CM at the Tamil Nadu House. Mr Radhakrishnan who earlier said he would step down if Colachel port was not established, had sought the CM’s support for the project.