AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction) chief O Panneerselvam on Friday, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi and conveyed the support of his faction of 10 MPs and 9 MLAs for the BJP's presidential candidate.
OPS was accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP Dr V Maitreyan, former minister Palanisamy and former MP Manoj Pandian.
Our sources tell us that OPS had a 15-minute one-on-one with the prime minister where he discussed the political future of Tamil Nadu.
The chemistry between the PM and OPS has been good even when J Jayalalithaa was the CM. On two occasions they had even exchanged confidential information. At this meeting too, the two leaders were cordial.
Modi has earnestly begun the exercise of getting commitments from smaller parties to support the BJP candidate for the presidential polls.
In fact, the Prime Minister's meeting with OPS is the third in a series of meetings. Last week, he met the YSR Congress and the Akali Dal
The PM has entrusted Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu with the task of coordinating with smaller parties. In fact, Naidu had a detailed meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edaapadi Palaniswami last week, when he was in Chennai to flag off the Chennai Metro.
Naidu has been given a verbal commitment, but it will be properly endorsed only after Palaniswami formally meets the Prime Minister and assures him of his support.
Palaniswami belongs to the VK Sasikala faction of the AIADMK (Amma), which holds the votes of 26 Lok Sabha MPs and 124 MLAs.
These numbers are not to be sniffed at.
This faction's support will be given to the PM by the TN CM once TTV Dinakaran gets bail.
-- R Rajagopalan