Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and presented a memorandum, listing demands like that the Centre should not clear Karnataka’s plan to construct a dam across Cauvery in Megadatu, confer Bharat Ratna on late J Jayalalitha, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and speed up clearance for an AIIMS near Madurai.
The Opposition DMK and other parties said there was nothing official about this meeting and that Palanisamy had met Modi to broker peace between him and his Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam who the other day confirmed that he met rebel Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dinakaran to bring about a change of government.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Palanisamy listed these and other demands as issues which figured in the discussion like clearing the GST dues to Tamil Nadu.
None of these demands was new. Palaniswamy wrote to the Prime Minister on September 4, saying the Centre should not give environment clearance for the Megadatu project as it was sought to be implemented without the prior concurrence of Tamil Nadu in violation of the final awards of the tribunal and the Supreme Court and that the dam would affect natural flow of water to downstream States.
True, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said in Bengaluru a couple of days ago after meeting Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari that he was hopeful of getting clearance from the Union Ministry for Forest and Environment. Even prior to that, Edappadi had lodged his objection with the Prime Minister.
The decision to recommend Bharat Ratna for Jayalalitha and name Chennai Central Station after AIADMK founder and late M G Ramachandran, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, was taken by the Cabinet on Sept 9.
Palanisamy’s sudden meeting with Modi immediately after Pannerselvam confirmed that he met Dinakaran on July 12, 2017 is seen by the Opposition as a move by him to save his position. It was Modi who brought about the merger of the Pannerselvam and EPS factions in August last year to meet the challenge from Dinakaran and Sasikala, now in Begnaluru jail following conviction in the wealth case. It has been confirmed by Pannerselvam himself.
Though Pannerselvam has said that he met Dinakaran at the behest of an intermediary in the mistaken belief that the rebel had chastened and refused to cooperate with him when he stuck to his demand to be made Chief Minister, Palanisamy obviously not convinced,.
After all Pannerselvam and 10 other supporting MLAs voted against this Government in the trust vote in February last year. His contention that he met Dinakaran in July to save the government has ,therefore, few takers.
Pannerselvam and his supporters escaped disqualification thanks to merger in August last year, unlike 18 MLAs of the Dinakaran camp whose disqualification awaiting judgement of the third judge of the Madras High Court. It is expected any time now.
Dinakaran claims that Pannerselvam sought a second meeting last month and he had proof of this. He said he spurned his overtures as it would be suicidal to go with the “betrayers”, Edappadi because he owed his position to Sasikala and Pannerselvam who voted against the government .
Though the AIADMK leaders say that Dinakaran is trying to drive a wedge between the two top leaders ahead of the Assembly by-elections in Tiruparangundram and Tiruvarur, nervousness is evident from the Election Commission putting off these elections in view of onset of north-east monsoon.