Tamil Nadu, arguably, may never have seen a chief minister with such calibre. He is the envy of his counterparts outside the state, and his own party colleagues in the state.
Edappadi K. Palanisamy’s tactics of performing a balancing act—ably handling his party men, his hidden enemies, his secret bosses, and even the detractors in the party—has earned him bouquets from within the party. The brickbats never evaded him too. However, in Delhi on Wednesday, when the chief minister called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for Cauvery Management Board, he was snubbed.
The most expected one-on-one meeting between Chief Minister Palanisamy and PM Modi was not in the latter’s schedule of events on Wednesday, when the former reached Delhi. While Palanisamy made it clear on Sunday during a press conference that the PMO has not granted appointment for a delegation of all-party representatives and farmers even after a reminder of his request was sent, the expectations in the AIADMK camp was high. However, the CM was snubbed. According to sources, he did not even get a reply from the PMO on his request for an appointment with the PM.
Though the ruling AIADMK, under Palanisamy, maintained the appearance of a BJP-friendly party, the prime minister has not yet spoken on setting up of the Cauvery Management Board. In fact, Palanisamy, while the PM was in Chennai to launch the Amma two-wheeler scheme on former chief minister J. Jaylalithaa’s birthday, had put forward his request for the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board while delivering his special address. Besides, while seeing off the PM in Chennai, when he came to inaugurate the DefExpo in Chennai, the CM did not miss the opportunity to submit a memorandum, requesting for the setting up of CMB.
After being snubbed, Palanisamy met senior advocates at the Tamil Nadu House to discuss on the defence to be put up when the case regarding CMB comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court on May 3. It may be recalled that the Centre had sought two weeks time, in the Supreme Court, for submission of the draft for the scheme.
However, the chief minister managed to show that nothing went wrong as he said he was in Delhi to participate in the meeting of chief ministers convened to discuss the 150th year birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. “On October 2, like what we do during our leader MGR birthday celebrations, free dhothis and sarees will be distributed to the poor. The purpose of me being here is to take part in the chief minister’s meeting. We will, through all our legal fights, ensure that our rights in Cauvery are restored,” he said.