November 6, 2017
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting DMK president M Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence in Chennai on Monday has made the AIADMK’s heart skip a beat.
It was an unscheduled meeting, which according to DMK sources, made the party’s Working President M K Stalin cancel his trip abroad midway and return to Chennai to be home to welcome the PM who arrived at the city to attend the platinum jubilee celebrations of vernacular newspaper Dinathanthi.
Though the BJP describes the about 10-minute meeting as a courtesy call, it has scored politically or at least has made an attempt to build bridges in the wake of DMK announcing that it would observe November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation, as black day and hold protests at all district headquarters.
For the DMK, it seems to have given some kind of happiness given that Stalin and Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi were all smiles when the PM came calling, interestingly a day ahead of the declaration of the judgment date on 2G spectrum scam by a special CBI court in New Delhi in which Kanimozhi and ex-DMK minister A Raja are accused. Both DMK and BJP cadre had gathered before the residence of Karunanidhi, who after Modi left, was brought to the entrance to cheer the party workers up. The 94-year-old ailing DMK patriarch too waved at the cadre and it turned out to be an emotional moment.
While Stalin himself has gone on record previously that the PM refused to meet him in the national capital, he was surprised and more than happy to welcome him at his father’s house.
Soon after the visit, the PM posted two pictures of his meeting with the DMK patriarch and tweeted, “Met former Tamil Nadu CM, Thiru M Karunanidhi and enquired about his health.” The DMK which maintains its leader’s Twitter handle also reciprocated the gesture.
The news about the meeting was known to the media and the public only after BJP leader P Muralidhar Rao tweeted in the morning that PM would call on TN’s senior most leader Karunanidhi during his visit to the state today.
But it has given the ruling AIADMK heartburns. Though Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami accompanied by his deputy O Panneerselvam greeted the PM at the Chennai airport, a feeling of discomfort prevails in his camp.
“They say it is a courtesy call. But I do not know what political significance it has. However, he has also met CM for half-an-hour and listened to the demands he made for rain-related relief,” V C Arukutty, AIADMK’s Coimbatore North MLA told The Covai Post in a sinking voice.
The other opposition parties are also skeptical about PM’s visit to DMK’s leader’s house. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su Tirunavukkarasar wondered, “What made the PM, who did not visit late CM Jayalalithaa during her 75-day hospitalisation, call on the veteran DMK leader?” Adding that PM’s “change of mind is anyhow good”, he, however, opined that it would not lead to any political alliance.
A CPM leader Bala Bharathi, on the other hand, posted on Facebook, “Holding hands has a political undertone.” By this, she only indirectly meant that there is political significance in Modi calling on the DMK leader during when he held the latter’s hands to express his concern.