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In a move that could shape a future political understanding with the BJP, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik are set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next few days.
The two CMs are expected to come with their long lists of demands. The BJP, too, needs these parties for passing bills, particularly in Rajya Sabha where the NDA is far short of the majority.
Jayalalithaa will meet Modi on June 3. Patnaik’s appointment will be finalised soon. High on Jayalalithaa’s priority would be steps to solve the energy crisis afflicting the state government as well as the emotional issue of Sri Lankan Tamils. Although she boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of Modi and his cabinet over the invite to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Jayalalithaa had maintained all through her campaign that a central government friendly to Tamil Nadu would be coming to power.
Before leaving for New Delhi on Thursday, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar: “I have asked for appointments fromthe Prime Minister and new Union ministers regarding Odisha affairs.”
BJD sources added that special category status for Odisha, quick roll out of the Goods and Taxes act, concern over the Polavaram project and other development issues would figure in the discussion. Top sources in the BJD told HT that the party may even think of an issue-based support to the new NDA government. “We will play the role of a constructive opposition with a very positive mind. We expect the ruling alliance to reciprocate our gesture,” said Bhartruhari Mahtab, BJD’s leader in Lok Sabha .
The AIADMK has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha while the BJD has four members.