Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met DMK President M Karunanidhi in Chennai today. the brief meeting took place at the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Gopalapuram residence in the state capital. PM Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the city, also met DMK working president MK Stalin. After landing at Chennai airport, he has discussed the situation arising due to heavy rains and floods in the state capital and other parts of Tamil Nadu with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam. The Prime Minister assured them of all possible assistance from the central government.
The meeting assumes political significance as the BJP seeks to widen its presence in the state. Party President Amit Shah has planned to make inroads in states like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal. Earlier, Shah had visited Tamil Nadu from August 22 to 24 as part of his efforts to strengthen the party organisation in the state. So far BJP has found it difficult to crack the code of regional politics in the state. The dominance of Dravidian parties, chiefly DMK and AIADMK, has made it harder for BJP gain substantial space in Tamil Nadu. PM Modi was considered close to late former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK was part of the UPA government headed by Congress. Following 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the equation between DMK and Congress has cooled off. On the other hand, AIADMK has witnessed fractional issue. Keeping the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi-Karunanidhi meet may well herald a new political equation. Tamil Nadu is the crucial state with 39 Lok Sabha seats.
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— ANI (@ANI) November 6, 2017
Before meeting Karunanidhi, PM Modi attended the platinum jubilee function of a vernacular daily. The prime minister will also attend the wedding of the daughter of Dr TV Somanathan, a senior official in the PMO, at Raja Annamalaipuram. “During his visit to Tamil Nadu today, PM Sh Narendra Modiji will visit senior-most leader from the state and former CM M Karunanidhi,” BJP national general secretary P Mualidhar Rao said in a tweet yesterday.
Karunanidhi fell ill in October 2016 due to a drug-induced allergy. In December last, he was admitted to the Kauvery Hospital here twice. The veteran leader was admitted to the hospital for “optimisation of nutrition and hydration” in the first week of December and later, due to a throat and lung infection. He had undergone the tracheostomy, a procedure to optimise breathing. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had called on the DMK patriarch at his residence in December 2016. The nonagenarian leader had made his first public appearance on October 19 this year, the first since his illness, when he visited an exhibition here held to showcase the 75-year journey of DMK’s mouthpiece, ‘Murasoli’.