Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu called on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami here on Sunday in an apparent bid to woo the AIADMK ahead of Presidential election. Naidu’s meeting comes only days after BJP’s Tamil Nadu leader Vanathi Srinivasan met the Chief Minister at Coimbatore. According to AIADMK sources, the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to get the Chief Minister’s support for its candidate in the Presidential election.
The AIADMK group led by Palaniswami has the support of most of the 122 members in the state assembly. In addition, many MPs including Rajya Sabha members also back Palaniswami. Soon after meeting BJP’s Srinivasan, Palaniswami had urged AIADMK leaders not to criticize the BJP in any public meeting.
BJP national Secretary H. Raja also stated that there was nothing wrong in the BJP’s move to elicit the AIADMK’s support. At the same time, the BJP also has good ties with former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who has the support of 12 MLAs and nine MPs.
The AIADMK split into two factions after the death of then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in December last year. Meanwhile, the DMK is doing what it can to ensure that the opposition picks a common candidate for Presidential elections.
There are plans to invite Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others for DMK leader M. Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday in June.