Will decide on alliance with BJP once dates are known: Palaniswami
After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Monday said a decision on an alliance between the ruling AIADMK and BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will be taken after elections are announced.
Accompanied by Tamil Nadu Minister D. Jayakumar and Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, he met Modi at his office and gave him a memorandum regarding various demands of his government including conferring Bharat Ratna on the late C.N. Annadurai and J. Jayalalithaa and naming the iconic Chennai Central railway station after the late M.G. Ramachandran.
Later, Palaniswami told reporters in reply to a question: "(Lok Sabha) elections have not been announced. We will decide on an alliance once the poll dates are announced."
He also urged the Prime Minister for early action on the construction of an AIIMS at Thoppur in Madurai.
Palaniswami said the Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed resolutions on the issues of Bharat Ratna and Chennai Central station and the Centre should act on them soon.
Among the demands made by the state in the memorandum given to the Prime Minister are: Centre should allocate Rs 4,445 crore for executing permanent flood control plans for Chennai, denial of permission to Karnataka for construction of Mekadatu dam on river Cauvery, construction of a naval base in Kanyakumari district that would help in rescue of fishermen stranded during cyclone and other times, setting up an ordnance manufacturing unit in the unused lands of Salem Steel Plant and construction of airports in Hosur, Neyveli and Ramanathapuram.
Asked whether the state would consider cutting VAT on diesel and petrol, the Chief Minister said: "Keeping the financial position in mind in view of the large number of ongoing people's welfare schemes, we will consider the issue."
To another question on the controversy over a meeting between Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and expelled AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran last year, he said OPS had already give his explanation and he had nothing more to say.
Asked about the opposition to reopening of the Sterlite project and the recent sanction of contracts to Vedanta-group company for extraction of hydrocarbons in the seas of Tamil Nadu coasts, he said the state would not allow any schemes that would go against the interests of the people. This had been made clear, he added.
Apart from the release of pending dues on account of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), the Chief Minister also sought release of Rs 8,699 crore which are due to the state for fulfilling various developments.