BJP, AIADMK warm up with Amma's royal lunch for Modi

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Chennai, Jan 14 (UNI) Preparing the ground for a possible revival of ties between the AIADMK and the BJP, Ms J Jayalalithaa today hosted a sumptuous lunch for BJP's posterboy and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, which the BJP described as a ''very friendly meeting and extraordinary lunch.'' Though a wide range of issues concerning the present political situation in the country were discussed during the two-hour-long luncheon meeting at the AIADMK General Secretary's Poes Garden residence, BJP Spokesperson and party Central Observer for Tamil Nadu Ravishankar Prasad refused to comment on whether the meeting took the BJP a step closer to reviving alliance with the Dravidian party.

Speculations were rife that the meeting was a precursor to the once allies in Tamil Nadu politics coming together again ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The AIADMK was part of the BJP-led NDA before it withdrew support to the Vajpayee Government in 1998, leading to its fall. The BJP had buried the hatchet and joined hands with the AIADMK again in 2004, only to bite the dust in the general elections.

The two parties seeing eye to eye on issues such as the Ram Sethu, LTTE, Indo-US nuke deal, terrorism, besides Ms Jayalalithaa paying glowing tributes to Mr Modi's victory and welcoming Mr L K Advani's Prime Ministerial candidature, had fuelled reports of yet another reunion.

However, Mr Prasad refused to comment on the alliance when waiting newspersons besieged him outside Ms Jayalalithaa's residence.

Mr Prasad described Ms Jayalalithaa as a ''generous host'' and said the lunch spread of 45 delicacies was ''extraordinary'' and the meeting ''friendly''.

Earlier, Mr Modi dropped enough hints of the BJP's march towards Delhi beginning from Chennai, saying that ''let uttarayan (northwards) begin from Chennai.'' He made this remark when Mr Prasad, addressing the BJP workers at the party headquarters here, said ''as the uttarayan begins tomorrow, BJP goes dakshinayan (southwards) with Mr Modi being here to motivate the party workers.'' Interacting with party workers, Mr Modi, the 'poll mascot' of the BJP, said the secret of his victory in the Gujarat Assembly polls was the large turnout of women, three per cent more than the previous Assembly polls in Gujarat.

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