Union minister for Urban Development, Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu considers himself a shrewd politician, but more often than not, he proved to be a big joker.
Venkaiah, who hails from Nellore, has a lot of interests in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. He has several friends in politics and business in that state. That is precisely the reason why he thought he would take the Tamil Nadu politics into control after the demise of chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Soon after Jaya received massive cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, Venkaiah rushed to Chennai. Doctors in the hospital told him that the chances of Jaya’s survival are very bleak.
The AIADMK leaders, too, have realised that they had to look for an alternative leader. At this stage, Venkaiah entered the scene.
He tried to convince Jaya’s close aide Sasikala and many AIADMK MLAs that instead of O Panneerselvam, they should select Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Tambi Durai as the chief minister. Needless to say, Tambi Durai is a close friend of Venkaiah and both have a lot of common interests.
But Venkaiah alone cannot force this decision on AIADMK. So, he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his plan to take control of the AIADMK affairs, since Jaya might die any moment. But Modi categorically ruled out, saying the BJP would not interfere in the AIADMK affairs.
“Let us not force Tambi Durai or somebody else. Their party MLAs will select their leader,” Modi told him.
Venkaiah had no option but to keep silent and allowed Panneerselvam to become the chief minister!