CHENNAI: The launch of J Jayalalithaa’s subsidised scooter scheme offered a platform for Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to urge the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management board and a regulatory committee, and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk about welfare schemes under the NDA Government that have benefited Tamil Nadu.
Thanking Modi for agreeing to launch the two-wheeler scheme, Palaniswami projected instances of welfare schemes launched by Jayalalithaa, from subsidised salt to cement to canteens.
Towards the end of the speech, Palaniswami urged the Centre to act on the Supreme Court verdict directing the Union Government to set up the Cauvery Management Board within six weeks.
Although plugged towards the end of the speech, the note about the Cauvery Management Board addresses the demands of Opposition parties that had met the State Government on Thursday in a rare all-party meeting. While it was widely speculated that the state government led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam will impress upon Modi the need to get work started on the Management Board, Modi speech came as a surprise.
Starting with observing that the two-wheeler scheme closely aligns with the NDA’s idea of uplifting the quality of life of the people, Modi said: “When we empower the women in the family, we empower the entire household…the central government is working in this direction. All our schemes and programmes are oriented towards this aim,” he told the audience gathered in Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai.
The Prime Minister listed the BJP Governments schemes like the free cooking gas programmes that have benefitted 9.5 lakh women in Tamil Nadu; others like the Jan Dhan banking scheme, rural housing, decision to extend maternity leave to 26 weeks, amending the Factories Act to allow women to work in the nights, and so on.
Political Observers say Modi’s presence in an event that celebrated Jayalalithaa’s 70th birth anniversary symbolised how close the NDA has gotten with the AIADMK since the death of the former chief Minister.
“With the 2019 Parliamentary elections nearing and the DMK has all but closed the doors on an alliance, the BJP will look to have closer associations with the AIADMK. However, its preference will be a united AIADMK,” said Perumal Mani, political analyst, referring to the rebel faction led by Sasikala with 18 outlier legislators claiming to be the “real” AIADMK.