The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has sought an apology from the BJP for union power minister Piyush Goyal’s comment on Tamil Nadu and its government.
Goyal, who was speaking at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday, described Tamil Nadu as a state within a state while expressing his inability to meet chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
“I made several attempts to contact ministers in the Jayalalithaa government. I have access to 28 states in this country but for the 29th state, when I want to talk to someone, I can’t. I call up and talk to the power minister and he says he will get back to me after he speaks with Amma,” Goyal had said.
Terming the statements as baseless allegations, state finance minister O Panneerselvam said, “The statement by Goyal that he could not meet the honourable chief minister Puratchi Thalaivi (revolutionary leader) is a preposterous accusation. It is an unsubstantiated allegation made with a political purpose.”
Listing the details of meetings the chief minister had with union ministers, eight in all, since the new union government took office in 2014, Paneerselvam claimed Jayalalithaa was and is always accessible for discussions regarding the welfare and development of Tamil Nadu.
Accusing Goyal of an ulterior motive, the two-time former chief minister reminded the BJP leadership that “honourable Amma” had even hosted the Prime Minister during his visit to Chennai in August 2015.
For the BJP, the union power minister’s statement sets the tone of their election campaign against the government.
“We will make this an election issue in the campaign,” said a senior BJP leader.
Amidst Goyal criticising AIADMK parliamentarians for their ‘servility’ to Jayalalithaa, other top state BJP leaders have been taking on the Jayalalithaa-led government.
State party president, Tamilisai Soundarajan added to the issue stating if a union minister experienced trouble in meeting the chief minister, one must imagine how it must be for the rest of the people.