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Jaya's emissary in Advani rally finale

The step underlines Advani's credentials as the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA. Shekhar Iyer reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2011 02:31 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times

Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has accepted BJP leader LK Advani's invitation to her party to join the finale of his nationwide anti-corruption tour in New Delhi on Sunday.

The decision signals growing warmth between the BJP and Jayalalithaa's AIADMK, and also underlines Advani's credentials as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led NDA in the next general elections.

On Saturday, Jayalalithaa told Advani on phone that she would depute M Thambidurai, the AIADMK's leader in the Lok Sabha, for the rally at Ramlila Grounds to mark the end of his 40-day Jan Chetna Yatra.

The move, coming ahead of the winter session of Parliament, may be a one-time gesture rather than a commitment of tie-up for parliamentary polls, which are not due until 2014, AIADMK members said. It also indicated Jayalalithaa's ire at the Congress-led UPA government, they said.

Jayalalithaa met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June demanding a special package for Tamil Nadu worth thousands of crores of rupees.

She was turned down, even though she had offered to back the Congress in Parliament if it parted ways with AIADMK's archrival, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

On the other hand, the AIADMK supremo's ties with the BJP have warmed since Advani called to thank her for her handling of security after a bomb was discovered on the route of his yatra near Madurai last month.

She told Advani an AIADMK panchayat chief had alerted the police about the bomb and added: "I'd not have been able to forgive myself if something had happened to you."

Meanwhile, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday joined the growing list of BJP stalwarts who have publicly backed Advani as the party's prime ministerial candidate. Two days earlier, former Union minister Jaswant Singh had said the country was moving towards mid-term elections and Advani would be the BJP's unanimous choice for the prime minister's post.

First Published: Nov 20, 2011 00:20 IST