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When PM Modi Became 'Hero' of the AIADMK Event Celebrating Amma's Birth Anniversary

The scheme, with a subsidy component of 50 percent up to Rs 25,000 for working women, was launched by Modi, who handed over the keys and registration certificate copies to five women beneficiaries.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:February 24, 2018, 9:06 PM IST
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When PM Modi Became 'Hero' of the AIADMK Event Celebrating Amma's Birth Anniversary
PM Narendra Modi at 'Amma' Two-wheeler Scheme launch in Chennai.
Chennai: Chennai: It was perhaps the first time that BJP flags were seen at an AIADMK event in the city. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the city to launch the Amma two-wheeler scheme.

A source from the AIADMK said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had sent an invite to Prime Minister Modi three days ago and got a confirmation from Modi's office in two hours. The ministers were surprised considering how the BJP top brass distanced itself from the merged faction post the RK Nagar bypoll. Contrast this with an earlier instance, when Modi turned down the invitation for unveiling a portrait of Jayalalithaa inside the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

In a telling sign, the entire stretch leading to the venue was full of Modi posters along with those that of Jayalalithaa, Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. This has triggered speculation that the BJP and the AIADMK will form an alliance in the upcoming elections.

The event turned political when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister urged PM Modi to take steps to set up the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee, as directed by the Supreme Court. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, focused on listing out the Central government schemes.

J Jayalalithaa was known to be pro-women centric. Most of the schemes under AIADMK also focused on the women community. The scooter-scheme was also for working women. The scheme, with a subsidy component of 50 percent up to Rs 25,000 for working women, was launched by Modi, who handed over the keys and registration certificate copies to five women beneficiaries. He also launched 70-lakh tree sapling planting drive to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary celebrations of late Jayalalithaa.

Modi said: "When we empower the women in the family, we empower the entire household. And the Central government is working in this direction. All our schemes and programmes are oriented towards this aim." He also listed out the initiatives by his government which are helping the women of the country.

Palaniswami in his address thanked Modi for lauding the ancient language Tamil recently. The deputy CM Panneerselvam was not far behind when he hailed Modi for "courageously leading India."

Political observers said in the absence of a leader, Modi stole the show and became the hero of the AIADMK event.

RK Radhakrishnan, Associate Editor, Frontline, said: "Both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister used the occasion to further their own political agenda. There was no great enthusiasm in the AIADMK towards the Prime Minister's visit, and going by what the PM said, it appears that he couldn't be bothered. The PM almost made it seem as if Centre was the only entity that mattered in Tamil Nadu. The anxiety to get the message across to the people of Tamil came out very clearly in his speech. EPS could not care less. For him, it was an opportunity to improve his stock. He got one more forum."

Political observers say the state government had given Modi a platform to woo voters on this occasion.

Karthigaichelvan S, Managing Editor, Puthiyathalaimurai, said: "He didn't speak much about Jayalalithaa. Generally at a birth anniversary event, someone will highlight achievements of that leader. Modi didn’t highlight the achievements of Jayalalithaa. He is using this event as an occasion to reach out to the voters of Tamil Nadu. Speaking in Tamil and trying to connect with the local people proves that he is trying to create BJP presence in Tamil Nadu. The state has always been anti-Hindi and knowing the pulse of the people, he communicated in the regional language.”

So has AIADMK lost the plot? Karthigaichelvan said AIADMK will use this to keep its flock together. He said: "Considering the uncertainty in the state, AIADMK gave him a platform by inviting him for the event. They are trying to send across a message to the party cadre that Prime Minister is with us and are making sure that MLAs remain united. It will convey a message to the party cadre as well. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties."

So what is worrying the merged faction? On Friday, an AIADMK MLA jumped ship from the merged camp to the TTV Dinakaran camp. Eighteen MLAs, who sided with TTV Dinakaram, were disqualified and the order on the disqualification is reserved. So, the merged faction is still tense as an adverse order in the case may topple the government.

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| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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