Did not interfere in government formation: Venkaiah Naidu

In an interview to E.T.B. Sivapriyan, the BJP veteran spoke about BJP's new opportunities' in Tamil Nadu.

O Panneerselvam was AIADMK’s choice to succeed J Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister and neither the BJP nor the Union Government played a role, says Union Urban Development and Information & Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

In an interview to E.T.B. Sivapriyan, the BJP veteran spoke about BJP’s ‘new opportunities’ in Tamil Nadu, how the AIADMK and the Government have the responsibility of carrying forward late Jayalalithaa’s legacy, the conspiracy theories behind her death and Sasikala as the general secretary of the AIADMK.

Q In your opinion, how is the AIADMK performing post-Jayalalithaa — as the government and the party?
A: They are expected to deliver, to perform and to fulfill the promises made by Madam Jayalalithaa. She made a slew of promises. She had a different style of working, with her cadres having both respect and fear. We have to wait and see how AIADMK performs and I
don’t want to discount the AIADMK.

Q Do you see a new opportunity for the BJP in Tamil Nadu post-Jayalalithaa?
A: There is a great scope for the BJP to expand and if the DMK also goes with the Congress which is a discredited party at the national level and mostly so in Tamil Nadu, it will be great opportunity for us. People are looking for a viable alternative; but then, I cannot say just because Madam Jayalalithaa is no more, the BJP will grow automatically. It all depends on the leadership here, the cadre and how they deal with issues.

Q There seems to be a campaign to make Sasikala the CM. How do you see this?
A: It is their internal matter. As far as the Government of India is concerned, we will deal with O Panneerselvam since he is the elected chief minister. And one has to remember that he has been Madam Jayalalithaa’s choice for the post. The Government will only deal with the Chief Minister.

Q You keep saying OPS is madam’s choice (interrupts…)
A: See, some people see extra meaning in my statement.
Is it not a fact that OPS was Madam Jayalalithaa’s choice in 2001 and 2014 when she had to quit?

I just stated the fact and the AIADMK legislators elected
Mr Panneerselvam as the CM. They elected him on their own. No one told them to elect him.

Q There have been some conspiracy theories relating to Jayalalithaa’s death. You had visited Apollo Hospital twice and were in touch with her doctors. What is your take on these allegations?
A: I had admiration for Madam Jayalalithaa and that was the reason for my coming to Tamil Nadu and being there through her cremation. I have no reason to disbelieve the doctors and we all know Madam had some problems vis-à-vis her health. After she was admitted to the hospital, I was told that her condition was critical but after some days Prathap C Reddy (Apollo Hospitals Chairman) told me her health had miraculously improved. The sudden cardiac attack was unexpected and she eventually lost her life. We were all thinking she would come back and resume her duties because we all knew about her will power. After the cardiac arrest, she was put on ECMO and there were discussions between Apollo and AIIMS doctors on the treatment. On the day she died at around 6 pm, the doctors decided to have two tests – one at 6.30 pm and another at 10.30 pm. The 6.30 pm test was a failure and once the other test also failed, they declared her dead. I don’t think there is anything to disbelieve the doctors unless somebody comes up with something concrete to make any allegation or to create suspicion.

Q You were at the Rajaji Hall on the day Jayalalithaa’s body was kept for public viewing. There was some criticism that Sasikala’s relatives stood around the body while the ministers and party seniors were seated down below. Comment.
A: I have no comments. I was told her family members were there, but I don’t know any of them. Everybody was heartbroken and Madam Sasikala is a friend of Madam Jayalalithaa. Nobody can deny the fact and Sasikala was like her companion. She was also very much aggrieved. I was coordinating with the chief secretary.

Q It is said you were in Chennai on December 5 and December 6 to ensure smooth transition of power. Is it true?
A: My visit to Chennai was just accidental and I came on my own because of my admiration to Madam Jayalalithaa. We are happy that we could give a fitting farewell to her. I want to make it clear I have not interfered in formation of the government. It is very clear that the AIADMK decided on its Chief Minister.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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