CHENNAI: Days after the AIADMK extended its full support to the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his confidantes – deputy coordinator of the party KP Munusamy and organising secretary Manoj Pandian – rushed to New Delhi on a sudden visit. The visit has triggered speculations in political circles since the purpose was not spelt out.
No official confirmation could be obtained about the purpose of Panneerselvam’s sudden visit to Delhi. However, sources privy to Panneerselvam said he was most likely to meet Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and if possible, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.Significantly, Panneerselvam closeted with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the latter’s chamber for about 30 minutes earlier in the day. Later, Panneerselvam and other ministers presented a bouquet to Palaniswami as a mark of sharing the happy moment of the water level of the Mettur dam reaching 120 feet after five years. So, Panneerselvam might have taken the information to be conveyed to whoever he would meet in Delhi on Tuesday.
Panneerselvam reached the Delhi airport around 8.30 pm and to the surprise of the media, around 20 MPs, most of them are seniors including deputy coordinator of the AIADMK and MP V Maitreyan, R Vaithilingam, A Navaneethakrishnan, PR Sundaram, Vigila Satyanand and G Hari received Panneerselvam by presenting shawls and bouquets.
When asked about the purpose of the sudden visit of Panneerselvam, a senior functionary in Delhi told Express, “Two days ago, BJP national president Amit Shah rang up Panneerselvam and sought support of the AIADMK MPs. Now, he is in Delhi. He is unlikely to meet Amit Shah but a couple of senior Union Ministers.”Meanwhile, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture K Pandiarajan denied any political motive of Panneerselvam’s Delhi visit. He said in Chennai that Panneerselvam might have gone to Delhi to seek more Central funds for the Tamil Nadu schemes and expressed confidence that he would return home with more schemes for the State.