Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha over lunch at her Poes Garden residence here, giving rise to speculations ahead of the next Assembly election.
The development was also watched closely by political observers for the NDA government is currently facing a challenge in pushing key reform bills in a chaotic Parliament.
It was Modi’s first official visit to Jayalalithaa’s residence after becoming the prime minister. The AIADMK supremo had hosted Modi at her residence in 2008 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
Jayalalitha, who had received PM Modi at the Chennai airport earlier in the day along with Governor K Rosaiah, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, state BJP president Tamizhisai Soundararajan and some other state ministers, gave him a warm welcome at her residence later.
Jayalalitha, who began her fifth stint as the Tamil Nadu CM in May, handed over a 23-page memorandum to Modi on several state-related issues and sought the Centre’s aid for various projects. The duo went for the lunch after speaking for about 50 minutes.
Jayalalitha raised the issue of construction of two reservoirs over the Cauvery River at Mekedatu during the meeting. She asked the central government not to grant techno-economic and environmental clearance to Karnataka over the construction till the Cauvery Management Board became functional.
“I request the Government of India to advise the government of Karnataka not to proceed with the project without the concurrence of the government of Tamil Nadu", she said.
Tamil Nadu has been urging the Centre for an early formation of the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.
The CM asked Modi to implement the projects interlinking rivers like Mahanadhi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Palar, Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar and diversifying waters of west-flowing rivers like Pamba and Achankovil to Valipar in the state under the Peninsular Component of the river-interlinking plan.
She said the Rs 5,166-crore proposal of diverting the flood waters of Cauvery to the drought-prone areas by linking it with the Vaigai and Gundar may be approved expeditiously. She said the funds were kept pending during the previous government and later returned.