In an humiliating twist of events for ADMK leaders , Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday snubbed Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam who went all the way to her South Block office in New Delhi to personally thank her for providing a military air ambulance to airlift his brother from Madurai to Chennai.
Days after the AIADMK voted in support of the BJP in the no-confidence motion, Panneerselvam along with his supporters left to New Delhi on Monday without revealing the purpose of the visit triggering a speculation of fresh round of infighting in the party.
Hours after chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami revealed purpose of his deputy’s visit to the national capital, Panneerselvam told reporters at the Tamil Nadu House in Delhi on Tuesday afternoon that his visit was neither political nor official. “I have come to meet and thank Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her favour to provide an air ambulance to airlift my brother from Madurai to Chennai. I have come to personally convey my gratitude to her,” he said before leaving to meet the union minister.
But the office of Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted announcing her non-meeting with Panneerselvam publicly has raised many eyebrows. “Appointment was given to Shri V Maitreyan, MP, Rajya Sabha. Deputy CM of Tamil Nadu has not met Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman,” the tweet said.
AIADMK sources said that Maitreyan got an appointment with the union minister on behalf of Panneerselvam. “If the Deputy CM was not given appointment, why would he come all the way from Chennai to her office?” sources said, adding that she might have avoided meeting him for speaking about the air ambulance.
Panneerselvam who waited in her office unit Maitreyan finished his meeting with her and left straight away to the airport.
Interestingly, Panneerselvam was considered close to the BJP leadership than the Edppadi Palaniswami. When Panneerselvam was revolted against the AIADMK led by late Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala, he had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi several times even when not holding any position.
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