Modi plays on Tamil sentiments

Our Bureau Kanchipuram (TN) Mar 6 | Updated on March 06, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a political rally held near Chennai on Wednesday. (L to R): K Krishnaswamy, founder, Pudhiya Tamilagam, O Paneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswamy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and S Ramadoss, PMK founder.   -  THE HINDU

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invoked the legacy of former State chief ministers MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, and played on the Tamil sentiment as he sought their votes for the AIADMK-led alliance in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“I am happy to share two things with you. We have decided to rename the Chennai Central Station after the great MGR. We are also seriously thinking about ensuring that flights to and from Tamil Nadu have in-flight announcements in Tamil language,” he said at an election rally in Kilambakkam in Kanchipuram district.

Modi said, he had visited MGR’s birth place in Sri Lanka. “It would make you proud that India has committed to construct 14,000 houses for Indian-origin Tamilians in Sri Lanka. Last year, the first 1,000 houses were handed over to the beneficiaries. The construction of 3,000 houses is in rapid pace and the rest once Sri Lanka identifies the land,” he said.

“The Centre is making continuous efforts for the development of Tamil Nadu. We are committed to develop Tamil Nadu that Jayalalithaa dreamt of,” he said.

Renaming the Central Station in the name of MG Ramachandran has been a long-pending project of the ruling government. Similarly, there have been requests from many quarters for flight announcements in Tamil even as the low cost airlines bare connecting smaller towns and passengers have complained of being unable to understand announcements made in English and Hindi. On the auspicious day of Amavasya, the AIADMK-led allianceon Wednesday launched the election campaign with Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami saying that Modi is the best person to run the country.

This is Modi’s fourth visit to the State in less than 40 days. On February 19, the AIADMK and the BJP formalised their “mega- alliance” that included the PMK for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP will contest from five seats in the State.

Taking a dig at the Opposition, Modi said they are guided by politics and selfish interests and do not want a strong India or a strong Armed Force. He also recalled that using Article 356, the former prime minister Indira Gandhi dismissed nearly 50 governments, including the DMK. For the DMK, opportunism has prevailed over values, he said, referring to the alliance with the Congress.

Meanwhile, the day saw speculations that the Vijaykanth’s DMDK will join the AIADMK-BJP-PMK alliance, and that there would be representation from the DMDK in the election rally. But that did not happen.

Published on March 06, 2019

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