Ahead of crucial elections for the President and Vice-President, there are signs that the UPA government has become “appreciative” of the Jayalalithaa government’s problems. This has become more evident in the backdrop of J Jayalalithaa’s deft handling of the Kudankulam issue and the dwindling electoral fortunes of its present ally — the DMK.
Two days ago, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh wrote a very warm letter to Tamil Nadu chief minister, granting an additional release of R98.20 crore to the state for the drinking water programme, over the Rs 273.84 crore given to it for 2011-12. Addressing her as “dear madam chief minister”, he wrote “the state has performed well and utilised more than 60% of the available funds” under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
Ramesh expected the CM to use the extra funds to enable more people to access better quality water. Ramesh is understood have also sought a meeting with her next week.
Not to be left behind, the BJP is also attempting to reach out to her. BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is visiting Chennai next week, has sought a meeting with her. The NDA wants non-Congress chief ministers to come on board to put up joint candidates for the posts of President and Vice-President.
Hitherto, Central ministers belonging to the Congress and the DMK had avoided calling on Jayalalithaa since she began her third term in May last year. The Centre had also been cold to her pleas for extra funds for Tamil Nadu. That may change, say sources from both sides.
Jayalalithaa’s handling and defusing of the stir against the Kudankulam plant pleased New Delhi as it had left it to her to choose the time schedule to “soften” the agitators. It is another matter that she wants the entire 2,000 MW from the plant allocated to the state.
With ADMK controlling 45,000 votes in the polls, Congress sources say they are looking forward to break the ice.