Reversing the trend of sanctioning funds when states approach them, the union government on Sunday sanctioned Rs 1,083 crores to Tamil Nadu. Union minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu claimed that the money was sanctioned to expedite three flagship programmes introduced by the Narendra Modi government.
Palanisamy government gets Rs 1,083 crore
In a never-before-exercise, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu reviewed central government schemes in Tamil Nadu. Even as Naidu claimed that the move to sanction money was apolitical and was only aimed at expediting projects to reap benefits, the entire set up reeked of politics. Out of the Rs 1,083 crore given to the Edappadi Palanisamy government, Rs 360.27 crore is sanctioned under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Rs 663.93 crore under Prime Minister Awas Yojana and Rs 59.14 crore for implementing the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana.
"No politics, only development"
Speaking to the media, Venkaiah Naidu said that development was the only agenda. "This is being done as per the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He wanted me to inform the states about the budgetary allocation for various programmes and sanction the sum at one go. Instead of Chief Ministers, ministers and officials going to Delhi, I have come here along with my officers and sanction the sum," he claimed.
O Panneerselvam camp sees red
A day after the central government released funds voluntarily to the Edappadi Palanisamy led Tamil Nadu government, O Panneerselvam camp has been seeing red. In a press conference held on Monday, V Maitreyan warned the BJP against allying with the EPS camp. "Bad times lie ahead for the BJP if they ally with Edappadi Palanisamy camp. Spokespersons of that camp have been verbally abusing our mentor J Jayalalithaa for making Panneerselvam the Chief Minister on multiple occasions," he said.
Has favour changed from Panneerselvam to Edappadi Palanisamy?
Panneerselvam camp was considered close to the BJP up until now. Panneerselvam's frequent visits to Delhi, the backdoor support he received after his rebellion against Sasikala Natarajan made it clear that his camp was being backed by the centre. The scenario has however changed. Over the last few weeks, Edappadi Palanisamy had been making efforts to please the BJP. First, he asked his cabinet colleagues to not criticise the Prime Minister in public. Then, his government asked for success stories of Prime Minister's flagship programmes to be highlighted and reported. The Edappadi Palanisamy camp cosying up to the centre has made the Panneerselvam camp, which was so far understood to be the beneficiary, fume.
President poll has a lot to do with change in tide
The change in favour may have a lot to do with the upcoming Presidential elections for the BJP. While Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu maintained that the sanction of funds was strictly development, the sudden softening stand by the BJP towards Edappadi Palanisamy camp has not gone unnoticed. The AIADMK's presence in the parliament is huge and its support matters for the presidential polls.
A number game at play
With the UPA gathering its numbers and seeking the support of all other political parties including Left parties, the BJP is under the compulsion to get all the support it can. With the split in the AIADMK, the BJP is compelled to woo both factions. Did the centre sanction funds to woo Edappadi Palanisamy camp or was it simply returning the favour as a result of EPS going the extra mile to please the BJP? Many political observers in Tamil Nadu are of the opinion that the BJP is playing big brother to the Tamil Nadu government and the sanctioning of funds was an indication of the same.