Chennai: Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the fourth time in three months, triggering intense speculation about the agenda of the meeting in political circles.
Though Mr Palanisami told reporters after the hour-long meeting at the sprawling 7, Race Course Road residence of Mr Modi that politics was not discussed and the meeting focused only on the issues and problems faced by Tamil Nadu, there were ample indications that politics did figure in the discussions.
“There were no discussions on politics. I had submitted a memorandum to the PM raising several state-specific issues,” the CM said after the meeting.
And Mr Palanisami taking his close relative along with him to the meeting with Modi only gave more credence to the speculation that discussion on political situation in Tamil Nadu was the prime agenda of the meeting. The CM's office did not give any explanation for him taking his relative to an official meeting.
Sources said Mr Palanisami reiterated the support of his faction of the AIADMK for the candidate to be put forth by the ruling BJP to elect the next President of India. They said Mr Modi broached the topic of the Presidential polls, likely to be held on July 19, and is understood to have sought the support of EPS faction, which has the support of 122 MLAs and 37 MPs.
Already, the BJP has enlisted the support of 12 MLAs and 13 MPs owing allegiance to former chief minister O. Panneerselvam. Though the BJP can get its candidate elected on its own, it wants the nominee to romp home with a comfortable majority and hence it is enlisting the support of “like-minded” parties.
The discussions are also believed to have touched on the merger of two factions of the AIADMK and the overall political situation in Tamil Nadu. The EPS faction of the AIADMK has been trying to get close to the BJP and Mr Modi to ensure that there is no instability to the government, which still has four years left.
Palanisami had earlier met Mr Modi on three earlier occasions in February and April.