Will Palaniswami’s meeting with Narendra Modi spur AIADMK merger?
New Delhi/Chennai: Amid growing speculation over the merger of the two factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, chief minister K. Palaniswami on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, maintaining that he only discussed exempting the state from the purview of all-India National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) exam.
This was the second meeting since last month between the two where Palaniswami took up the issue of exempting the state from NEET, the all-India medical college entrance test.
Palaniswami “reiterated the request of exemption from NEET for Tamil Nadu”, a brief official release in Chennai said on Friday. Accompanied by Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambidurai, the chief minister called on Modi at the office of the prime minister in Parliament House, the release added.
Stalled negotiations on the merger of two AIADMK factions picked up again on Thursday after a meeting in Chennai. At the meeting presided over by Palaniswami, the party questioned the appointment of TTV Dhinakaran as AIADMK’s deputy general secretary.
A resolution passed in the meeting said Dhinakaran’s elevation to the post, hours before his aunt Sasikala Natarajan was taken to a jail in Bengaluru, was against party bylaws, a condition for the merger which former chief minister O. Panneerselvam’s AIADMK had been pushing for.
Palaniswami had earlier met Modi on the same issue on 25 July. He and some of his cabinet colleagues, including health minister C. Vijayabaskar, also met finance minister Arun Jaitley and home minister Rajnath Singh.
Tamil Nadu has been seeking exemption from NEET, saying it would benefit its students. Panneerselvam, the head of the rival faction, is also in Delhi. Both he and the CM attended vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu’s oath-taking ceremony this morning. Panneerselvam is also trying for an appointment with PM Modi, people aware of the matter here said. Members of his faction will also meet officials of the Election Commission. The people cited above said the Panneerselvam faction will present a copy of Thursday’s resolution to the EC.