Jaya, Naveen open to supporting Modi

Jaya, Naveen open to supporting Modi

Jaya, Naveen open to supporting Modi

The AIADMK, a potential ally for any combine within striking distance of power, is set to lace its offer of support with conditions that would be decided by its leader, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha.

Sources in the AIADMK on Wednesday said that she will make it clear to whoever seeks her support that it would not be unconditional or limited to just “bargaining” for ministerial berths. If dependence on the AIADMK is of high order, Jayalalitha may also insist on a pivotal role for herself, the sources said, pointing to the party’s campaign during the Lok Sabha polls that projected her as a future leader at the Centre.

Otherwise, her demands would be related to a rise in the share of power generated from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project to help tide over the severe power crisis in Tamil Nadu, resolution of the Cauvery water issue and speeding up of construction work to increase the height of the Mullaperiyar dam.

Jayalalitha will also seek guarantee of effective steps, both on the diplomatic and security fronts, for stopping attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan forces off the Rameshwaram coast. AIADMK sources said she was also likely to ask for the assurance of a healthy economic package for Tamil Nadu.

Indications from the AIADMK about which party it will support came ahead of the May 16 results of the Lok Sabha polls, with AIADMK leader K Malaisamy hinting at Jayalalitha’s inclination to back BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. He said, “Narendra Modi is a great friend of Jayalalitha.

They may differ politically. If he becomes PM, then Madam would like close ties.” Even as other party leaders said his remark was not authorised, Jayalalitha did not contradict him. “All I can say at this juncture is let us wait for the results to come out. I will give you my comment then,” she said in Chennai.

Modi and Jayalalitha were known to be good friends in the past. They attended each other’s oath-taking ceremonies when they became chief ministers. But during campaigning, both criticised each other’s parties. Later, Modi said in interviews that  election rhetorics would not stand in the way of a post-poll tie-up.

Another potential ally, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday he is not in talks with the BJP on government formation at the Centre, however, he has not ruled out extending support to it either. Earlier, his party’s chief whip, Pravat Tripathy, told a TV channel, “Keeping in view the opinion of the whole country and the state’s interest, there should be no problem in providing conditional support to the NDA to form government at the Centre.”

BJD’s MP Jay Panda said, “Demands for conditional support to the next government are there, but this will need discussion.” This prompted BJP leader Nitin Gadkari to say, “We welcome anyone who wants to ally with us.”

Like the AIADMK, the BJD was part of the NDA for several years, but broke away in 2009. During the campaign, Patnaik said Modi did not have the pan-Indian acceptance that a candidate for the top post needs.