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On Day 2 of Delhi visit, TN CM calls on Sonia, Rahul

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Friday, concluding his two-day maiden visit to the capital after he formed the DMK-led coalition including the Congress government on May 7
By Divya Chandrababu
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 12:38 AM IST

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Friday, concluding his two-day maiden visit to the capital after he formed the DMK-led coalition including the Congress government on May 7.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted a photo from their meeting saying, “We will keep working with the DMK to build a strong and prosperous state for the Tamil people.” Stalin was accompanied by his wife Durga and the meeting went on for more than 20 minutes. He presented a copy of the book ‘Journey of a Civilization: Indus to Vaigai’ by R Balakrishnan to Sonia Gandhi. “It was a courtesy call,” said a DMK MP in Delhi not wishing to be named. Stalin also recalled that their relationship has been ongoing since the time of his late father and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. “I felt this was very close to my heart,” Stalin tweeted in Tamil.

On Thursday, Stalin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for about 25 minutes and submitted a memorandum of 25 demands. Some of this included issues which have been rolled out by the BJP-led union government and opposed by the DMK, such as the demand to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the three new farm laws and the national education policy. Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Stalin said that he was happy and satisfied with the interaction and that the Prime Minister assured him of support.

Stalin had also raised issues such as inadequate vaccine supply, GST dues, abolition of NEET, retrieving Katchatheevu island, offering more rights to Sri Lankan Tamils and to reject the permission granted to Karnataka’s Mekedatu dam project. He also took a jibe that the union government is asking states to not reveal the number of vaccine stocks while referring to shortage of vaccines in Tamil Nadu. Before Stalin’s arrival, a dozen DMK MPs had camped in Delhi, including his half-sister K Kanimozhi.

“Though it is customary for chief ministers to meet Prime Ministers since Nehru’s period, this was also the first time that Stalin is meeting and spending some time with Modi so he now has first-hand idea of the kind of the person that Modi is,” said political analyst, Maalan Narayanan.

“Until now, Stalin has only gone by what his MPs, alliance partners, and media friends have told him about Modi. They both have to face a Lok Sabha election in two-and-a-half years for which they are under compulsions to deliver. This puts DMK in a peculiar situation because they cannot be seen as being friends with the BJP which will upset their vote-bank but they will have to work together so they will have to blow hot and cold,” said Narayanan.

He added that Stalin will neither take a confrontational approach like his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee nor that of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the risk of being seen as subservient. “In the coming months, I see him rallying the opposition together while working hand-in-hand with the union government,” said Narayanan.

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