Chennai: Breaking its silence on Union Minister Arun Jaitely's meeting with AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa that triggered a controversy, Tamil Nadu unit BJP on Friday said it was only to seek her party's support in Rajya Sabha for passage of crucial bills.
"Considering people's welfare our leader met her to facilitate passage of Bills in Rajya Sabha," BJP state unit President Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters here days after opposition parties in the state slammed Jaitely for calling on a convicted person.
The meeting on last Sunday drew sharp attack from most of the opposition parties, including DMK, in the state as they questioned its propriety, citing the pendency of the AIADMK chief's appeal against her conviction in a graft case.
Leading the attack, DMK President M Karunanidhi ridiculed Jaitley's comment that it was a "courtesy call" and quoted a Tamil proverb to ask if there was any difference between such a comment and a plain lie.
Citing some news reports that the meeting took place with the concurrence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he sought to know "if Modi too was a party to all these things."
NDA partner PMK and Congress also flayed Jaitely's move, saying it created doubts.
Dismissing the criticism, Soundararajan said there was no political significance in the meeting, the first high-profile one after Jayalalithaa was enlarged on conditional bail by Supreme Court after a Bengaluru special court sent her to four years in jail in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
"BJP is fielding candidate against the ruling party nominee in the assembly by-election to Srirangam constituency (which fell vacant following Jayalalithaa's disqualification in view of her conviction)," the BJP leader said.
Strongly condemning DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran for blaming the RSS behind the arrest of three of his aides by the CBI in the "illegal" telephone exchange case, she said there was no truth in his allegations.
"He says RSS, BJP do not like the growth of a Dravidian party, and its leaders. If that was true, can he explain why his father Murasoli Maran was accommodated in the Union Cabinet by (A B) Vajpayee,"? she asked.
"Murasoli Maran was treated with respect and honour by our leadership," she added.