Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday reportedly 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.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Panneerselvam said, “This is not a political visit. I have come to meet and pay my respects to Hon’ble Nirmala Sitharaman. She did a big favour for me by providing an air ambulance for my brother when he had taken ill to enable him to get to Chennai from Madurai. I have come to convey my heartfelt gratitude to her.”
Soon after that, the office of Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted that the Minister had met only AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan and not OPS.
“Appointment was given to Shri V Maitreyan, MP, Rajya Sabha. Deputy CM of Tamil Nadu has not met Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman,” it said.
Reports said that the Defence Minister was not happy at how the Deputy Chief Minister had gone public with the favour and declined to meet OPS. While Dr Maitreyan was called to the minister’s chamber, OPS was left sitting in the visitor’s room.
Later, speaking to reporters after reaching Chennai, OPS said, “One should have the heart to accept anything.”
On Monday evening, OPS had arrived from Chennai to a rather high-profile reception at the Delhi airport. More than half the parliamentary party of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) had lined up to greet him with bouquets, making many wonder if there was something cooking.