Chennai: AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) on Tuesday met union home minister Amit Shah in Delhi and said his meeting was “non-political”. He said he briefed the union minister about the “deteriorating” law and order under the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government.
This is the first meeting between the top leaders of the allies after the AIADMK abolished its dual leadership system – facilitated by the central BJP leadership in 2017 – and recently elected EPS as their unitary leader.
The meeting also comes at a time when the AIADMK has been in turmoil and mired in legal battles. An expelled O Panneerselvam (OPS), considered close to BJP leadership, has dragged the party to the court. With the on-going power tussle, V K Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran are also trying to reclaim the AIADMK.
This time the BJP has steered clear of the situation, refusing to interfere in AIADMK’s “internal affairs”. EPS had not met Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the latter was last in Chennai for the inauguration of the Chess Olympiad in July.
EPS clarified that there was no meeting scheduled with Modi in Delhi too. Following the meeting with Shah, EPS told reporters in Delhi that the meeting was a courtesy call and that politics was not discussed. The leader of the opposition said that they discussed the prevailing situation in Tamil Nadu.
EPS said that drug sales were soaring in Tamil Nadu. “The state higher education minister had recently said that the drugs were imported from other states, but it is up to the government to take steps to stop drugs coming into the state from wherever it is,” EPS said.
“We informed all this to the present DMK government but they failed to take action, so we met and informed the union home minister. Besides this, we also pointed out how murders, robbers, sexual assault have been consistently happening.”
The AIADMK leader alleged that in every department of the Tamil Nadu government there is “commission, collection, corruption.”
EPS urged Shah to implement the Godavari-Cauvery river link project to solve the drinking water issues of the people in several districts of Tamil Nadu. He accused the DMK government of being corrupt, saying people were suffering due to the hike in electricity tariffs and property tax.
On September 16, EPS had led AIADMK’s state-wide protest against the government hiking electricity tariffs. He launched a scathing attack against chief minister M K Stalin, alleging that he was a puppet while his wife, son and son in law called the shots.