- PM Modi was in Chennai to launch subsidy scheme named after Jayalalithaa
- PM Modi strives for empowerment of women, Mr Palaniswami said
- Recently, OPS had said that BJP played crucial role in AIADMK's merger
Mr Palaniswami spoke about PM Modi's unwavering commitment to improve the plight of women. "Like Jayalalithaa, PM Modi too strives for empowerment of women," he said. Mr Panneerselvam, or OPS as he is called, went on to detail the BJP leader's close association with Jayalalithaa, hailed him for "courageously leading India" and describe PM Modi as someone immensely popular "not just in India but abroad too".
The praise came at the function to launch the Amma Two-wheeler Scheme that entitles working women to get up to Rs 25,000 subsidy to buy a scooter. By all accounts, PM Modi's presence at the AIADMK government's function was unusual and is being seen in context of the BJP's quiet support for the Amma faction of the AIADMK led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and OPS.
Recently, OPS had conceded that the BJP's top leadership, particularly PM Modi, had played a crucial role in last year's merger of the AIADMK's two factions; one led by him and another by Chief Minister E Palaniswami.
The PM had met with the leaders of both factions ahead of the merger, conveying the BJP's desire to end divisions within the regional party it believes can help it gain some ground in Tamil Nadu. PM Modi's two-day stay in Tamil Nadu is also expected to push this agenda.
For the AIADMK that has been battling crisis after crisis after jayalalithaa's death, the opposition DMK says the ruling party's blatant attempt to cosy up to the BJP appeared to be its insurance policy.
DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said the AIADMK-led government has been in a minority but had survived because the Governor wouldn't call a floor test. And then, its ministers face the risk of action by income tax authorities which was reported to have seized documents that could land its leadership in trouble.
Tamil Nadu BJP spokesperson Narayana Tirupathi told NDTV that the party sees a "very big vacuum in the state... We are trying to fill the vacuum".
Participating in a discussion on NDTV on the possible political realignments in the state, AIADMK Rajya Sabha member A Navaneethakrishnan appeared to confirm the close ties.
Describing the central government led by PM Modi as one that had been working for the poor, Mr A. Navaneethakrishnan told NDTV that he considered the BJP and AIADMK to be "natural allies and definitely, there won't be any confrontation between the AIADMK and BJP".