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Jayalalithaa meets Narendra Modi; keeps options open on Rajya Sabha support

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-06-2014 S. Bridget Leena

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday and gave him a list of pending Central government grants that she said are due to her state.

Modi told her that having been a chief minister for 13 years he knew of the difficulties faced by chief ministers and that he would do everything in his power to fulfill the needs of Tamil Nadu, she said later.

“He was chief minister (of Gujarat) and he understands the problems of a state; he promised he will do the needful. He was receptive and patient,” Jayalalithaa told reporters in Delhi.

The Centre owes Tamil Nadu nearly Rs7,000 crore in unpaid reimbursements of sales tax, which had been cut from 4% to 3% and later to 2%, she said. In addition, a sum of close to Rs4,000 crore is outstanding in payments for various welfare schemes, she added.

“We have spent this money but the Central government is yet to reimburse, putting the state in a difficult fiscal position,” Jayalalithaa said.

“I have also requested the prime minister to allocate 15% of power generated from central generation stations to Tamil Nadu, which is yet to be allocated,” the chief minister said.

But the two leaders did not discuss whether Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party would support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. The NDA as well as BJP have independent majority, she added.

Asked if she will support the NDA in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority, Jayalalithaa said, “We will see when a situation arises.”

There has been mounting speculation that BJP is trying to woo AIADMK in order to get its support for key legislation in the Rajya Sabha.

BJP, with only 42 members in the 245-member upper House, falls short of the 123-mark needed for simple majority. AIADMK has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha.

“The meeting lasted about 50 minutes and it was useful. I hope it will be rewarding,” said Jayalalithaa, after submitting a 27-page memorandum, which also requested the prime minister to withdraw the decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and urged Central government to share the burden of fuel subsidy.

The memorandum also listed some other demands concerning Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government wants the Centre to form a Cauvery Management Board and a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee for the implementation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

The river Cauvery is the lifeline of Tamil Nadu. With the notification of the final order of the disputes tribunal, a scheme for modernising the canal system in the Cauvery basin, at a cost of Rs11,421 crore, may be approved, the memorandum said.

It also asked the government to protect the rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka and to ensure their safety and security.

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