Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi just took 10 minutes to breeze in and out of Karunanidhi’s residence in Chennai, as he churned the political cauldron, adding grist in abundant measure to the mill
When Tamil Nadu is bogged down by volatile politics and a shaky Government, the PM Shri Narendra Modi Modi surprised everyone by visiting ailing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, who is recuperating from illness, at his Gopalapuram residence and enquired about his health.
Weeks after the north-east monsoon played havoc in Tamil Nadu and when the ruling AIADMK was in total chaos regarding who will have control over the Party, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam or the Sasikala Natarajan factions, another political storm came from north which surprised everybody. Shri Modi paid an unscheduled visit to the 93-year old Karunanidhi, setting off the buzz about a political realignment at a time when the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam camp of the ruling AIADMK was said to be cozying up to the BJP.
This meeting took place at a time when there were accusations against the Centre for running kangaroo courts to settle issues between OPS, EPS factions and running the proxy Government from Delhi. These allegations were made by none other than M K Stalin, the leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and the DMK working president. In June he had organised anti -BJP conclave in the guise of celebrating his father M Karunanidhi’s Diamond Jubilee in the State Legislative Assembly, besides his 94th birthday. He invited all north Indian Opposition leaders but deliberately kept out the BJP leaders by not sending them invitation.
Shri Modi met Karunanidhi for the first time after assuming office as PM, but his association with late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was well known. After becoming PM, Shri Modi once visited Jayalalithaa at her residence for a luncheon meeting. Modi's invitation to Karunanidhi to stay in his official residence left even senior DMK leaders surprised. They were at pains to discount any political significance to the meeting.
Modi's was a courtesy visit to the ailing DMK patriarch, but his interaction with the DMK scion, M K Stalin set off speculation. Sources said the meeting was initiated by the PM himself through an emissary and was coordinated by Stalin in the DMK camp. Stalin, a bitter critic of Shri Modi and the BJP, cut short a UAE trip by one day to receive the PM. The body language of Shri Modi and Stalin did not betray the
underlying unease between them. Two of Stalin's requests for appointments with him were turned down by the PM in the past, but this time Modi made amends and assuaged the hurt feelings by even paying a surprise visit to Stalin's ancestral house.
Two days after Prime Minister Shri Modi called on Karunanidhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and DMK working president M K Stalin separately dismissed speculations about the possibility of a political alliance between the two parties that were once coalition partners.
“It is a good political culture, Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) is a senior political leader and despite ideological differences the prime minister met him,” Smt Sitharaman told reporter at the BJP's Tamil Nadu headquarters. She was responding to a question about whether the meeting could be a precursor to an alliance between the two parties. Smt Sitharaman said it is a good culture in the country to visit elderly people who are ill, indicating there was nothing political about the meeting.
Stalin, addressing at a protest in Madurai against demonetisation on its first anniversary, said no politics was involved in Shri Modi meeting Karunandihi.
“Modi did not come for politics, we are also not ready to use him anytime for politics,” Stalin said. Stalin said he had already clarified that Shri Modi met Karunanidhi as the DMK president was a senior Dravidian leader and that he was taking rest in view of his old age. He also said Shri Modi had invited Karunanidhi, who was hospitalised twice in December last year for problems related to lung infection, to stay at his Delhi residence.
“He (Modi) said they won't allow you (Karunanidhi) to take rest here as there would be a stream of visitors. He also invited (Karunanidhi) to come to his Delhi residence for treatment,” Stalin said, adding “therefore this is humanitarian, and beyond politics.” Karunanidhi presented Shri Modi two books one an English translation of his comments on 2000-year-old Tamil epic Thirukkural, and the other a book on DMK mouthpiece Murasoli's 75th year celebration.
Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan said do not politicalise Prime Minister's visit to Karunanidhi's residence. However there may be political differnces, Modi knows to respect the Opposition leaders.
Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman , Union Minister of State for Home Pon Radhakrishnanand BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan. Former Union Minister MK Azhagiri thanked Modi for visiting his father and praised his good governance.
“Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi just took 10 minutes to breeze in and out of Karunanidhi’s residence in Chennai, he churned the political cauldron, adding grist in abundant measure to the mill. It is called Modi Magic”, said a BJP leader.